A £2 MILLION pound project to improve a notorious danger road is set to begin work improving access to two major firms and the village of Rocester.
The road improvements on the B5030 which will improve access to JCB and Alton Towers will start in three weeks time and will be mainly carried out while the theme park at Alton Towers Resort is closed for winter.
The £2 million funding from the Local Pinch Point Fund to remove bottlenecks on local highways, will see two roundabouts installed to improve access from the village and JCB.
The road will be widened and a new lower speed limit brought into place to prevent accidents.
William Singleton, site manager for Balfour Beatty, the contractor in charge of the project in conjunction with Staffordshire County Council said the plans would produce ‘better access’ once completed.
He said: “The first step is to divert a number of services including gas, water, electric and communications cables as there are a lot of abandoned services.
“The plan will eventually lead to a reduced speed limit, a wider road and two roundabouts to control the flow of traffic.
“We decided against traffic lights as it would be too stop-start.
“With Alton Towers traffic it will go from 4,000 cars to 12,000 overnight so we will need to plan carefully for when the park re-opens.
“Overall, there will be better access to the village and JCB when work is complete with the two new roundabouts.”
Anthony Fowell, Rocester resident and JCB employee welcomed the plans.
He said: “It’s a much-needed improvement, access has been horrendous and it’s much-needed for the village.
“During the works it will be a pain at peak times but it’s worth it - it needs doing.
“My one concern is busses turning around in the village and kids crossing the road without supervision.”
Mark Snape, Staffordshire County Council project engineer said: “The bus service is considering tweaking the route so that there are no problems with busses turning around.
“We’ve had a fantastic turn out and it’s given the locals an opportunity to find out first-hand how they will be affected.
“We have been in close touch with Alton Towers and JCB to minimise disruption.
“The main work will take place while the theme park is closed so there is as little restriction to visitors as possible.
“Today we’ve had some further feedback from residents and we’re considering having a manned crossing for the children as this was one of the main concerns raised by parents.”
Rob Bradley, Rocester resident said: “I’m glad they’ve decided against traffic lights.
“I think it’s a good thing that the roundabouts will keep the flow going and safety is obviously the main thing.
“There will be some delays while the work is carried out, it’s inevitable.”
Those interested are invited to follow the Rocester Improvements Twitter account for instant updates at @Rocester_Imps