Dual carriageway plan between Kenilworth and Leamington moves a step closer

Kenilworth to Leamington dual carriageway
Kenilworth to Leamington dual carriageway

Plans to create a dual carriageway to ease traffic flow between Kenilworth and Leamington have moved a step closer.

But some councillors have questioned the idea, claiming that priority should instead be given to better cycling infrastructure.

The proposal to create a dual carriageway from Kenilworth’s Thickthorn Island to Bericote Road, by Chesford Bridge, near Leamington, was one of three road improvement plans discussed at a Warwickshire County Council (WCC) cabinet meeting held on Tuesday. The other two were in Rugby and Nuneaton.

It was agreed that all the plans would be prioritised for delivery over the next six years.

A report outlining the priorities for Warwickshire Major Road Network (MRN) explained that central government would cover around 85 per cent of the cost of each scheme from a £3.5bn pot of cash.

Councillors agreed the programme and also backed a plan to hold a seminar for councillors of those areas set to benefit from the Department for Transport funding.

Improvements to the Leamington/Kenilworth road would also see the completion of the long-awaited K2L (Kenilworth to Leamington) cycle path.

But two Kenilworth town councillors, Rob Barry and Andrew Milton, have spoken out about the dual carriageway, saying that by putting the cycle path and dual carriageway plans together, it would delay the proposed Kenilworth to Leamington cycle path.

Cllr Milton said: “Prioritising projects like K2L (cycle path) is essential if we’re serious about the ambition to make Warwick district carbon-neutral. Building bigger roads just increases the amount of traffic. Wherever good quality cycle routes are provided the number of cyclists increases so the answer to our problems seems to be staring us in the face.”

Cllr Barry said the dual carriageway, which includes a bridge across the River Avon and has an initial estimate of £17.9m, does not appear good value for money.

He added: “At best it will temporarily relieve rush hour congestion for five days a week. A better way forward would be to spend a fraction of this (£3.5m) in realising the Kenilworth to Leamington (K2L) cycleway. This would result in environmental and health benefits 24/7.

“London has demonstrated how serious investment in cycle infrastructure does result in a massive increase in cyclists and with the advent of the e-bike cycling infrastructure has never been more vital.

“Given the railway service from Kenilworth to Leamington has only being running for one year, but has already doubled its passenger-carrying capacity, I propose that we put K2L in place within the next two years and then assess the need for further transport infrastructure after that.

“As per the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan, K2L is vital to link Leamington to the University of Warwick via a new cycleway, which will be part of the east Kenilworth development.

“The WCC Feasibility Study for K2L was produced in 2013 and we seem to have wasted six years doing nothing since then.

“Looking at the funding timetable for the dual carriageway it appears that it will be complete just in time to mark the deadline that the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that we need to act to avoid climate catastrophe.”