DON’T gridlock our town.
That was the impassioned plea from members of Stratford District Council following the news that motorists faced five months of delays along the A439 Warwick Road in Stratford for major safety upgrades to take place.
SDC’s ruling liberal democrats raised grave concerns over the fact the northbound side of the road would be closed for the duration of the works and the adjacent Birmingham Road could become blocked with diverted traffic.
They also pointed out that the works had been scheduled to coincide with the much-delayed Birmingham Road improvement scheme, which should have started on January 15 and there was also a programme of pothole-filling promised for Birmingham Road.
SDC leader Coun Susan Juned is demanding urgent talks with Warwickshire County Council in a bid for the scheme to be postponed and alternatives considered such as staged re-surfacing with two-way traffic flow and temporary traffic signals.
Coun Roger Harding, whose Stratford Welcombe ward will be seriously affected by the measures, expressed his dismay.
He said: “Birmingham Road will be at a standstill and potentially gridlocked. It is currently at capacity, taking 18,000 vehicles a day. There is no chance that it will cope with an extra 7,500 vehicles a day. About 700 of these additional vehicles would be HGV lorries.
“We all know what happens at Arden Street junction with Birmingham Road. With that many extra vehicles, it will soon become blocked. The tailback will stretch back along Arden Street towards Evesham Road. Guild Street will lock up right back to Clopton Bridge and beyond.
“How are my residents supposed to drive out of the area if they can’t get onto the A439 towards Warwick? They are going to find it impossible to turn right onto Guild Street, which passes right through my ward.”
A WCC spokesperson said the project was aimed at significantly reducing the number of collisions along the A439 and creating a safer, more accessible environment for all road users and pedestrians.
The road safety scheme will include a reduction in the speed limit, a protected turning lane at the Ingon Lane junction, which has experienced a high number of collisions, streetlighting to improve visibility of crossing pedestrians at fisherman’s car park, parking restrictions to prevent dangerous parking along the route, an off-road cycle lane, footway provisions which will better connect pedestrians to the town centre, as well as pedestrian crossing points.
In addition, there will also be signage and road lining improvements made across the entire route as well as a resurfacing of the carriageway. These works will be taking place from mid February from the junction of Welcombe Road to the access of Ryan Hill Park, which is a distance of 2.8km.
The WCC spokesperson added it was committed to keeping disruption to a minimum. A one-way southbound system will be implemented, and comprehensive diversion routes will be clearly signposted for the duration of works.