A MULTI-MILLION pound Government cash boost to revamp the Black Dam Roundabout has been hailed as a crucial investment to secure future jobs in Basingstoke.
On Monday, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced a £4.3million investment to create a “hamburger” roundabout at Black Dam in a bid to reduce congestion at junction six of the M3.
The bid for Government cash was submitted by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – a coalition of north Hampshire and Surrey businesses and councils.
The revamp will see the A339 ring road cut through the roundabout and connect to the junction six slip road. Experts from planning firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, who were commissioned to investigate the effects of the “hamburger” roundabout, said the redesign will curb traffic congestion.
Their results, published in a report to the borough’s decision-making Cabinet earlier this year, read: “The proposed scheme would add additional lanes through the centre of the Black Dam Roundabout, essentially to create what is known as a Hamburger junction.”
The experts said this will aid traffic flows from junction six on to the A339, providing better access to the town centre and Basing View, and reduce queuing on the other arms of the roundabout.
The grant has been welcomed by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council bosses, and town business leaders, who say it will help the town cater for 13,200 new jobs expected by 2020 – the majority of which will be created through the regeneration of the Basing View business complex.
It is expected work on the roundabout will start by 2014, and be completed by 2015.
Councillor Andrew Finney, borough economic strategy and development Cabinet member and a member of the Enterprise M3 LEP board, said: “This is fantastic news for businesses in the borough. We have been championing the need to improve this important gateway to the town, which will become even more crucial given our investment in regenerating the Basing View business park to attract more companies and jobs to the area.
“These improvements will tackle the current travel delays and congestion and make Basingstoke an even more attractive location for inward investment to keep our local economy booming.”
The roundabout’s development is seen as a key part to the borough’s ambitions to become a leading business centre in the south east.
Alongside partner Muse Developments, the borough has begun a £200m revamp of Basing View, using Government funds, £500,000 of its own money and £874,000 from Hampshire County Council. Enterprise M3 chairman Geoff French said local businesses had told the LEP that congestion on the roundabout and the motorway is harming businesses.
“Enterprise M3 is delighted that the scheme to tackle congestion at the Black Dam Roundabout has won this much-needed Government funding,” he said.
“Earlier this year, a wide range of businesses in our area made it clear to us that the ongoing congestion problems around this junction were a real barrier to their business growth and the economic growth of the local area as a whole.
“This announcement, and the resulting highway improvement it will bring, is a real boost to the economic prosperity of the Basingstoke area.”