M4 Junction 15 upgrade making good progress

A multi-million pound scheme, which will tackle congestion and help unlock thousands of new homes in Swindon, is progressing well – with the dedicated London-bound slip road taking shape.

Published: Thursday, 18th March 2021

Junction 15 slip road

Highways England, the company responsible for England’s motorways and major A-roads, has teamed up with Swindon Borough Council, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) and developers Persimmon and Redrow to deliver extra lanes at M4 Junction 15 and improve local road access from the motorway.

The £17 million project started last August and will improve journey times and reliability for motorists by tackling congestion at both the busy M4 junction and on the A419, particularly at peak times in the area. 

As the images show progress at the junction has been positive, with the new layout starting to take shape, and the widening of the inner roundabout due to take place later in the spring.

On the A419 southbound, the earthworks and new embankment to support the dedicated lane to the M4 eastbound are almost complete, while the northbound diversion of services by Openreach and Thames Water are set to be finished soon.

Moving forward, preparations will begin for traffic signals and street lighting on the junction and work will also start on drainage, road construction, and noise and safety fencing.

New access for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will shortly be installed under Day House Lane bridge.

Highways England has invested £5 million from its Growth and Housing Fund, which to support economic growth, facilitate employment opportunities and enable housing development across the country.

This is being jointly funded by Swindon Borough Council (£4.8m), SWLEP (£3m) and Persimmon and Redrow (£4.35m). 

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport and Planning, said: “It is great to see the progress being made at Junction 15, which complements the tens of millions of pounds being invested in the nearby White Hart roundabout and other key New Eastern Villages highway schemes.

“The improvements to the motorway junction will make a huge difference to motorists and local residents when complete and will greatly benefit local businesses and our economy as it will provide a huge boost to our already excellent transport links.”

The upgrade follows the start of two major Swindon Borough Council schemes – the Wichelstowe underpass project further west near M4 junction 16, and improvement work at the White Hart junction, a vital link between the A419 and A420. 

The M4 Junction 15 programme includes: 

  • Widening of the southbound carriageway between Commonhead roundabout and M4 Junction 15, providing a dedicated left lane for London-bound traffic.
  • Widening of the M4 Junction 15 northbound exit to the A419.
  • Improving the A346/Marlborough Road entry.
  • Widening of the M4 Junction 15 eastbound exit-slip.
  • M4 Junction 15 westbound exit-slip road, lengthening of the 3-lane section.
  • Widening the M4 Junction 15 southbound gyratory.
  • Upgrade of existing footpaths.

Throughout the project, any work requiring overnight closures and traffic management arrangements will be communicated in advance. 

Swindon Borough Council’s £4.8m investment will complement more than £72.5m in road improvements at the nearby New Eastern Villages development. 

Paddy Bradley, CEO of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is encouraging to see that the work on the M4 Junction 15 is progressing to the ultimate benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.

“This scheme, supported by the SWLEP’s Local Growth Fund, will support sustainable economic growth in Swindon and is of significant strategic importance to the wider area.

“It is great to see these infrastructure improvements continuing efficiently despite the challenges the team have faced in the light of Covid-19.”

Mark Fox, South West Head of Scheme Delivery for Highways England, said: “Our roads are vital and these improvements at junction 15 of the M4 will ultimately improve journeys and unlock local economic growth. 

“Despite the winter weather and COVID restrictions, we have made great progress on the scheme so far, with the road set to be open to motorists from October.

“As the scheme progresses, we will make every effort to ensure that the impact on the local community is kept to an absolute minimum, and we will communicate any changes via roadside signage.”

Highways England will be starting a scheme on Monday, 22 March to refurbish the Broome Manor Lane overbridge which crosses the M4 between junctions 15 and 16.

The three-month scheme involves repairs to the bridge deck, joints and parapets, and waterproofing, and during the essential work, the road and footway will be closed to all traffic, including cyclists and walkers.

The work will also require occasional overnight closures of the M4 and these closures will be communicated in advance.

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