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Overview and Scrutiny examines Rugby Western Relief Road

Published: 22nd November 2010 13:53
Warwickshire County Council's Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee is meeting at Rugby Town Hall on 29th November to consider the Rugby Western Relief Road.

Warwickshire County Council's Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee is meeting at Rugby Town Hall on 29th November to consider the Rugby Western Relief Road.

 Photo by Ian Rob

The Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR) is 3.75 miles (6 kilometres) miles long and was built to relieve traffic congestion in and around Rugby. It opened to the public on September 10 2010.

On-going residential and industrial development in the town, particularly to the west and north of the town centre, meant more traffic coming into and out of the town.

The new road cuts journey times and helps to mitigate environmental damage by reducing noise and air pollution within the town centre. It will also create better conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and other highway users and help to reduce the number of accidents.

The multi-million pound scheme was constructed by Carillion and funded by the Department for Transport, Warwickshire County Council and developers. Overview and Scrutiny will examine the processes that led to delays in the scheme and its coming in significantly above budget, and will scrutinise areas where the county council could have worked differently to see if the problems could have been avoided.

Analysis of the road, which is used by 12,000 vehicles each day on average, as well as the highways leading into the town centre indicates that there have been some real benefits. Bilton Road has seen a reduction in traffic of up to 28% as well as a major reduction of over 16% in traffic on the Newbold Road. Using the government's cost-benefit ratio measuring methodology, the value of the road has a very positive ratio of 4.5:1, meaning that for every £1 spent, £4.50 of benefit is yielded.

Cllr John Whitehouse, Chair of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: "This meeting will provide the first opportunity for elected members to understand in detail why this major project has suffered such delays during its construction, and why its final costs will have exceeded its budget by many millions of pounds.

''Notwithstanding the benefits that the new road seems to be delivering, we need to establish whether the project represented good value for taxpayers' money. We also need to identify any lessons to be learned by the County Council in the management of such major projects in future."

Cllr Alan Cockburn, portfolio holder for environment and economy, said: "It was well documented that there were problems with the construction of the Rugby Western Relief Road and we welcome the input of the scrutiny committee in helping us to identify any lessons for the future.

However, we are pleased that the road still represents good value for money for the people, and town, of Rugby. We should not lose sight of the immense benefits that the road has created in terms of time saved, and improvements in noise pollution, air quality and road safety in the town centre in less than three months since it opened."

The public is invited to attend the meeting which begins at 2.30 pm

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