Fears inner bypass will be road to ‘mayhem’

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FEARS have been voiced by a councillor that changes to plan’s for Hucknall’s controversial inner bypass could send the town down the road to traffic ‘mayhem’.

The concerns focus on a T-junction that is proposed for the bypass where it emerges on to Station Road, next to Bolsover Street.

But Coun Mick Murphy, a Hucknall Conservative member of Notts County Council, said: “Station Road was never designed for that sort of system.”

Traffic lights would be installed at this junction and at a mini-roundabout now planned for the junction of the bypass with Ashgate Road, leading to Hucknall’s Tesco superstore.

“With the traffic lights at the High Street/Station Road junction, it means there would be three sets within a short distance of each other,” said Coun Murphy. “A lot of congestion could be caused.”

He claims that Linby Road, which would link to the mini-roundabout, and Church Lane, Linby could end up as a ‘rat run’.

The council’s plans for the bypass and part-pedestrianisation of High Street date back more than 60 years.

The £12 million scheme, aimed at easing traffic congestion and revitalising the town centre, is now due to start late in 2014 and is likely to take about two years to complete.

Originally it was thought the scheme was dead in the water after the coalition government came into power and immediately slashed the Department of Transport’s budget for major road schemes.

But it was given a lifeline as part of a group of projects that have now been granted millions of pounds worth of backing from Whitehall.

Residents are soon to be given the chance to have their say during a consultation on the latest version of the bypass scheme.

Coun Murphy said: “The whole thing has dragged on for far too long. A decision needs to be made sooner rather than later about whether the scheme is to go ahead or be scrapped.

“Let’s bring it to a close because people’s lives are being put on hold. A final decision is needed.”

The county council’s major projects and improvements team manager, Neil Hodgson, said ‘subtle’ changes had been made to the plans in response to public opinion.

Alterations to the design have included re-alignment of the Station Road-Ashgate Road junction and an improved walkway from the Hucknall tram stop and railway station.

Mr Hodgson added that the new traffic lights were aimed at creating improvements to the present system. He added that increased traffic from new housing development had been taken into account.

Mr Hodgson said there would not be another full-scale consultation about the amendments and it would be more of an information-sharing exercise.

He denied rumours that a controversial move to allow buses on to the pedestrianised area of High Street, between Watnall Road and Baker Street, had definitely been scrapped.

“No decision has yet been made about whether this will happen,” said Mr Hodgson.

Coun Murphy said the concept of pedestrianisation could be jeopardised by Royal Mail vehicles needing to call at Hucknall Post Office and cash being delivered to banks.

“We can’t dictate to them the times when this will happen,” he claimed.