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News Report Page 7 of 15
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Bid to redesign M62 Rocket gets funding boost

BID Submission: Liverpool City Council, through Transport for the North, is seeking a ₤92m grant from the Department for Transport to remodel the City's M62 junction. A ₤120m plan to radically redesign Liverpool's Rocket Junction at the M62 has been submitted to the Department for Transport.

Transport for the North has included Liverpool City Council's scheme as 1 of 4 major projects within a ₤700m programme of works that have been identified as critical to the economic growth of the north of England. The draft proposals for the major upgrade to the Rocket Junction would include the demolition of the existing Queens Drive Flyover and replacing it with a new roundabout, featuring a dual lane underpass.

The Rocket Junction is the busiest in Liverpool City Region with over 100,000 vehicles travelling through it every day. It connects the start of the M62, with the A5080 and the A5058 Queens Drive. Due to increasing traffic, the junction is currently functioning at full capacity in the morning and evening peak hours, and this is expected to deteriorate further in the next 5 years.

Liverpool City Council has recently declared a Climate Change emergency and sees the scheme as a huge part of its programme to reduce congestion and air pollution in the City. Physical signs of weakness in the Queens Drive Viaduct have also prompted investigations which indicate that significant investment is needed to upgrade the structure.

As well as the removal of the flyovers, the existing signalised junction will be reconfigured to incorporate a traffic signal controlled gyratory with provision for through traffic travelling north/south on Queens Drive. It is known as a 'hamburger' type layout, where the main road passes through the centre of the roundabout.

The Rocket Junction Upgrade project will reduce congestion and improve the length and reliability of journey times. The design will also be developed so as to enhance road safety and improve connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists with a more pleasant, greener environment for all users. The scheme is seen as critical to Liverpool's future economic development with the City focusing on developing its port and knowledge economy.

The bid to the Department for Transport is for ₤92m with Liverpool City Council contributing the remainder via its ₤500m Better Roads programme. If approved, it is anticipated works for the scheme would begin in 2023.

Predicted post Rocket impact...

The Rocket Junction upgrade will support SMART objectives which are outcomeorientated (i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time limited), including:-

► 15% decrease in road users' travel time through Rocket Junction by 2030.

► 30% increase in weekday peak-hour traffic flow volume through Rocket Junction, by 2030, to relieve more congested corridors.

► 20% decrease in weekday peak hour traffic flow volume through parallel route junctions by 2030.

► 10% decrease in personal injury accidents within 200m from Rocket Junction by 2030.

► 10% decrease in road users' travel time variability through Rocket Junction by 2030.

► 10% decrease in greenhouse gas / CO2 within 500m from Rocket Junction by 2030.

► 50% increase in weekday / weekend daily active pedestrian and cyclist movement volume through / across Rocket Junction by 2030, to reflect easier access and crossing facilities.

Removal of the existing flyover has the potential to enhance the built environment in the area, enhancing the architectural landscape. Space created by removing the flyover would present the opportunity to incorporate a significant landmark piece to enhance this gateway to Liverpool.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "The Rocket is not fit for purpose; it can no longer cope with the traffic coming into the City via the M62 and as welcome to Liverpool is a hugely negative experience. As we all know, the junction is flawed as the motorway should have come all the way to the edge of the City Centre, but stopped at the Queens Drive ring road instead. In its current state the Rocket junction is causing commuter misery every single day and by its flawed design is causing congestion and contributing to greater air pollution. We need the M62 to work for Liverpool and the wider City Region; for our economy and our environment. This scheme needs a huge amount of development and consultation to get it to the stage of delivering it, but if the government is serious about investing in the Northern Powerhouse, this is a scheme that will certainly unleash huge benefits for all concerned be they commuters, businesses, residents and visitors to our City."

Peter Molyneux, Major Roads Director at Transport for the North, said:- "As part of our pan-Northern bid for ₤700 million of investment in our roads, we're pleased to put forward for funding the upgrade scheme for the Rocket Junction, working in partnership with Liverpool City Council. As the busiest junction in Liverpool, with more than 100,000 vehicles travelling through it each day, this is a pivotal project that will have wide reaching benefits for people and businesses. As well as bringing journey times down locally it will also have a positive impact on the wider motorway network and support the City's ambitious growth plans."

There was dual cause for celebration for Edge Hill University Graduate Morgan Murphy

AS well as earning 1st Class Honours in Film and Television Production, Morgan also won a gold and silver medal in the Japanese martial art of Aikido at July's WSAF World Championships in San Diego, USA. She said:- "What a way to end the academic year! I didn't get to go to my graduation so there was no hat and gown, but I guess the replacement of two medals isn't a bad swap!"

The 22 year old, from Normanton, Wakefield, was victorious as part of the GB women's Randori team (along with Laura Beardsmore and Natuley Smalle), dramatically defeating her Japanese opponent, Keiko Konaka, in the dying seconds, a key victory which helped clinch world glory only 10 minutes after her individual final.  That bout had ended with a silver in the women's individual Randori, in which she lost out to now 6 time world champion, team mate Beardsmore, 9 - 3 in a competitive final. Smalle; a former world champion who Morgan defeated in the semi final; took bronze, giving GB a 1st ever 1 - 2 - 3 in the event.

Morgan reflected:- "The competition was intense, fun and emotional, especially going against my mentors and team mates in the semi final and final of the individual Randori event. I have seen them succeed since my 1st World Championships, and I never expected to fight alongside these amazing women who have helped me get to where I am now. Although in other events I did not medal I thoroughly enjoyed competing. The GB team was incredible, throughout the competition I loved the support we all had for one another; I couldn't have done it without them."

Squad manager, Paul Carr, added:- "Morgan has stepped up to become integral to GB's success. The road through the rounds was proof of how far she has come, and how much hard work she has put in while at Edge Hill despite being away from the GB training bubble in Leeds and Loughborough. She has gained legions of fans for her positive approach and this translated in the final where despite losing to Laura, she held her own, scored positive points and showed how much and how far she has improved in the last 2 years. I have no doubt she will ultimately become the individual world champion."

Morgan's preparations had been boosted by a gold standard Edge Hill University sports scholarship, which enabled her to continue her studies alongside her build up for San Diego. Worth ₤1,000 per academic year, additional benefits included free gym membership, personal training and physiotherapy support. The latter proved crucial for Morgan, given her build up was severely hindered after she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee. Morgan said:- "Without regular training with the GB team, the sports scholarship enabled me to maintain my fitness levels, which is key to competitive Aikido. I had decided to delay the surgery to allow me to compete, as well as complete my studies. The physiotherapy team not only provided exercises to strengthen my knee, their positive attitude to my recovery kept me inspired."

Morgan is now preparing to begin her working life with The Community Church, in Southport, as Head of Media and Youth, as well as undergoing her delayed surgery which should give her the chance to challenge for future World Championship Golds. She added:- "In a few weeks I will have my ACL reconstruction surgery, so will have to take time out from Aikido to recover. I plan on still attending events to help where I can and will be back to compete in the next World Championships."

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