Views on road safety and capacity improvements for Wokingham Borough

The government has  asked each local Highways authority to identify and improve a strategic network of main local routes. It is making money available for highways improvements to this network. Part of the rationale is to reduce use of the national strategic network for shorter trips  through use of a motorway for just one or two junctions instead of using more direct local roads for these purposes.

 

The first task for Wokingham Borough is to define its strategic network. I have put together some  draft suggestions on how Wokingham might identify its local strategic network and would be interested in your thoughts.

 

The nature of the Boroughs main roads

 

Wokingham’s routes are busier east west than north south. This refects the need of many to travel into the County centre at Reading or to go to Bracknell, to  the cluster of towns west of London and to London itself in the east.  East-west travellers have a choice of A329 M, A 329, and A4 as well as having the M4 to the north and the M3 to the south. North south travel is badly impeded by the east west railways lines from Paddington to Reading and Waterloo to Reading, and by the west east flowing Thames to the north of the Borough. The network has only one two way bridge over the river at Henley, where capacity is badly impeded by traffic lights at the north end of the bridge, and a one way at a time river bridge in Sonning. In Wokingham there is only one underpass bridge to  the train line to Crowthorne on the A321 and that is not wide enough to take two lorries at the same time. There are 3 level crossings which cause major congestion.

 

The main  North-south A road, the A321 should be included in the network, as it connects the Borough to Oxfordshire by the only adjacent two way river  bridge starting in the Borough  at Henley. It goes down to the Blackwater towns, the A 30 and by extension the M3 to the south. .

 

The A329 M and its extension, the A3290 should also be included. It is the heaviest used local road with two lane capacity in each direction. It runs between east and west, connecting Bracknell to east Reading. It ends at the river where Berkshire has always wanted a river crossing, but Oxfordshire has not.

 

The A 327 runs from Fleet in Hampshire with a western  tilt to Reading going through Arborfield and Shinfield, two expanding villages. It is currentky subject to by pass upgrades and will be an important route for travel into and out  of Reading. It warrants inclusion.

 

The A329 east west road  links Bracknell to Reading via Wokingham Winnersh and Earley, all busy settlements. This is also being upgraded and warrants inclusion given the usage.

 

The A 4 is another east-west route that used to be a trunk road. Since adoption as a local road its capacity has been cut by traffic management measures and speeds slowed. As this is not in my constituency I do not express a view on whether this should be included.

The A33 Southampton to Reading road has been detrunked and runs to the west of the Borough into Reading. It has already attracted substantial investment upgrading to  its Berkshire section to dual carriageway. It should  also be part of the local strategic network.

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One Comment

  1. alan jutson
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    The problem John is that the A329 and the A321 both go through the Centre of Wokingham Town.
    On neither of these roads can you avoid the Town centre unless you travel through totally inappropriate roads to try and by pass the Centre.

    The so called New North and South Relief Road routes, which have yet to be built, and which will use new housing development roads, will also not be up to the task, as these roads are far too narrow, with far too many junctions and bends, the fact that they also still exit onto existing roads near already busy junctions will just make the problems on the existing A329 and A321 worse, not better.

    Wokingham needs a free flowing proper ring road around it which, which can enter directly the A329M to the north and A321 far further south than the present proposals.

    So sad that to do the above will now mean demolishing hundreds of houses, when there was originally plenty of open space available before it was over developed with housing.

    Shame also that the 106 agreement finance that the developers must have paid in £ millions to the Council has not been spent wisely at all, with the necessary improvement of the local infrastructure.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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