Wiltshire Council will now develop outline business cases for the two schemes to enable them to progress to the next stage of development under the government’s Major Road Network (MRN) and Large Local Majors (LLM) programme.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This is fantastic news for Wiltshire, and we’re delighted that these two schemes have been given the green light to go ahead.
“This funding prioritises the busiest and most economically important roads in the Western Gateway, and will improve connections in the south west, reducing journey times and improving the roads for the people of Wiltshire and visitors to our county.
“We also have £40m worth of other bids in the pipeline that we hope will be included in the next phase of funding announcements, including dualling the A350 at Chippenham to Lackham, and major improvements at Junction 17 of the M4.
“In Westbury, we’re intending to bid for funds to improve the A350, but this scheme will fall into a further round of government funding, which won’t begin until 2025.”
The Melksham scheme, which is estimated to cost around £135m, will bypass the town centre and in turn resolve a critical pinch-point on the A350, improving north to south connectivity throughout the Western Gateway in the south west. It is a part of a package of road improvement measures that will improve the northern section of this north-south route.
As well as reducing journey times and delays, the scheme will provide significantly enhanced walking and cycling between Melksham town centre and the railway station and other parts of the town.
On the A338 in Salisbury, the estimated £17m of improvements will reduce congestion and improve safety by an extensive remodelling of the Harnham and Exeter Street roundabouts, along with optimising the signals at Park Wall junction on the A36.
Both schemes are important to support planned and future growth. Outline business cases for these schemes will now be developed to move the projects forward.