Closed meeting discusses upgrade of M5 junction 10 - and full business case is to be prepared
THE Highways Agency has left the door open to a major revamp of junction 10 of the M5 in years to come.
Officials from the agency met Tewkesbury Borough Council and other interested parties yesterday to discuss the upgrade of Junction 10 of the M5.
It followed the Echo's Open Up The M5 campaign, to get the motorway junction near Cheltenham made four-way.
Following the private meeting at the borough council's headquarters in Tewkesbury, it emerged that the agency planned to start work on strengthening the bridge later this year. It made it clear that it would not have time to arrange for a full revamping of the northbound-only junction, even if it could secure the extra £13.2 million that would cost.
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Highways Agency officials did, however, say they would consider a junction revamp in the future and a full business case for that will now be put together by the borough council, in collaboration with the community. The agency's regional planning manager Andrew Page-Dove said: "We will continue to work with Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council while they seek to identify an economic case to support an all-movements junction at junction 10."
Councillor Robert Vines (C, Badgeworth) is Tewkesbury Borough Council's leader.
He said: "It was an extremely positive meeting, which allowed all interested parties to sit down together to discuss the issue.
"It is clear now that we need to do further work to develop a business case and we will be working together to achieve that."
Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson has backed the Echo's campaign.
Although unable to be at yesterday's meeting, his assistant, Mark Calway was there.
He said: "We need to prove that there's an economic case for making the junction four-way and I think we can."
He said he felt no final decisions on the matter had been taken and another important meeting would take place on Thursday in London between Mr Robertson and transport secretary Stephen Hammond.
Mr Calway said the agency had stated that it would take two to three years to achieve a revamping of the junction, even if the planning for it began immediately.
And it had said that no savings would be made by carrying out the revamp at the same time as the vitally important bridge repair.