TREES and other vegetation have been cut down ahead of plans to dual Worcester's notorious Southern Link Road.

The £38 million work on improving the A4440 in Worcester to reduce congestion is set to begin in April but some of the preparatory work has already started as these photographs show. Trees and other foliage has been removed before birds nest there so work is not delayed on the project which aims to slash waiting times on the congested bypass.

Peter Blake, head of integrated transport at Worcestershire County Council said: "Work to remove vegetation along the Southern Link Road between the Ketch and Norton Roundabouts began earlier this week. The vegetation needs to be removed ahead of the bird nesting season to enable work to commence on the scheme to improve the Ketch Roundabout with partial dualling towards Norton. Contractors will only be removing what is necessary to accommodate the works and replacement trees will be planted in due course following public engagement on mitigation measures for the Ketch scheme which does not conclude until February 28."

Your Worcester News has previously reported the Ketch island, off the A38, will be doubled in size as the route is part-dualled between the Whittington roundabout and the Ketch roundabout. A railway bridge, owned by Network Rail, which spans the road will also be made wider to allow for an extra lane of traffic underneath. The council says the part-dualling will reduce waiting times by up to 50 per cent, especially for drivers heading towards the M5.