Government announce £23M for Wichelstowe roads

As part of a £130 million ‘growth deal’ for Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the government have announced £23 million of funding for Wichelstowe road links, including a tunnel linking Wichelstowe with Junction 16 of the M4 motorway.

Unfinished roads in West Wichel
Unfinished roads in West Wichel
The funds are only indicative at the moment and is subject to additional funding from other sources being obtained and detailed plans agreed. With a general election before they will be confirmed, could be subject to change. The details of the deal are:

  • For 2015/16, £11.5 M of improvements to Junction 16 (£5.6 M from Swindon Borough Council, £5.9 M from central government);
  • Between 2016 and 2021, £25.6 M for ‘Wichelstowe infrastructure’, including the tunnel link to Junction 16 (£2.7 M from Swindon Borough Council, £22.9 M from central government).

The tunnel was part of the original Wichelstowe plans and has been the subject of heated debate both over its location and the timing of its construction. Wroughton Parish Council in particular were concerned that delays in building the tunnel might lead to more traffic through Wroughton. There was also concern that the planned link to the south of Junction 16 would cause congestion there for travellers from Wroughton. Many argued it might be better to place the link to the north of Junction 16, giving more direct access to West Swindon. Changes to the Wichelstowe masterplan that were confirmed in February left the location of the tunnel and its link to the south of Junction 16 unchanged.