A £60 MILLION bid to build Hereford’s proposed bypass and new river crossing goes to Whitehall this week with a real chance of success.
The West Midlands Regional Assembly gave the project priority status in January and is asking the Government for at least half of the £130 million cost.
Developer contributions from 8,000 new homes scheduled for Hereford by 2026 are expected to cover the rest – and the direction of the route will largely be dictated by where those houses will go.
Herefordshire Council leader Councillor Roger Phillips is feeling bullish about the bid’s chances of success.
“Whitehall will test us on our case, so we now have to be sure our case is as strong as the support,”
said Coun Phillips.
Officially, an outer relief road – or bypass by any other name – has long been on the wish list of successive county administrations as an answer to Hereford’s ever-present traffic troubles.
Whitehall has yet to give any indication of when it will make a decision on the bid, which is considered as part of a regional transport programme to start in about 2013, completing five years later.
In May last year, the Hereford Times revealed funding for the road was close.
Then, Coun Phillips told the full council he wanted a timescale closer to four years than the 40 it took to get the city’s most recent major route – the Rotherwas access road – built.
In putting the river crossing as a priority, Coun Phillips set up a rerun of the east-west Hereford bypass debate of the 1980s and early 1990s.
Initially, Plan A linked the crossing and distributor road with the Rotherwas access road.
But, like the bypass plan of old, this route would have to get round the Lugg Meadows to meet the Worcester road.
Plan B pushed the crossing over the Wye at Breinton and on to the Brecon road, not acknowledged as the best solution, but seen by some as good enough.
The council already accepts that a public inquiry is almost certain.