£50m M49 junction at Bristol unused as link road unbuilt

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M49 junction
Image caption,
Road to nowhere - the junction is open but does not link to the business park as planned

A new £50m motorway junction near Bristol has yet to open because developers have not built a link road to it, the BBC has found.

The new route on the M49 at Avonmouth was due to connect to a distribution centre with the motorway network. The junction was completed in late 2019.

Despite it being complete for more than eight months, traffic is yet to use it.

South Gloucestershire Council said it was "working to influence" the developers to build the link road.

Major companies using the distribution park include Amazon, Tesco, Lidl, Next, DHL and The Range. Royal Mail also has a distribution centre on the park.

But currently any drivers that used the motorway junction would reach a fenced-off dead-end from which they could see the Amazon warehouse but not be able to drive to it.

A former worker at the distribution park, James Long, accused the government of "messing up" and said the situation was a "disgrace" and "insult", claiming the business park owners were "holding the public to ransom".

Mr Long, a resident of the nearby village of Pilning, said "thousands" of lorries were instead using a nearby A road to access the motorway network.

Image caption,
End of the road - the route from the motorway junction stops just short of the business park

The new junction would be the only one on the short M49 route, which links the M5 at Avonmouth with the Prince of Wales Bridge that crosses the River Severn.

Two companies are named as the landowners - Severnside Distribution Land and Delta Properties. Neither have responded to requests for comment from the BBC.

A not-for-profit firm, SevernNet, which represents businesses in the area, said it was "evidently disappointing for all parties that the new junction cannot be used yet".

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said "responsibility for building the link road... lies solely with the landowner" and the council was working to "influence and help facilitate construction" of the road in a "timely manner".

Highways England, which built the junction, said: "South Gloucestershire Council is currently working towards [building the road] with developers."

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