The county council is committed to encouraging economic growth and opening up business opportunities across Nottinghamshire, writes Coun John Cottee, chairman of the communities and place committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.
A key element of this ambitious plan is ensuring that the county’s extensive road network is as good as it can be and keeps people and business moving.
Traffic on the Mansfield and Ashfield Regeneration Route (MARR) linking Mansfield and Ashfield to the M1 motorway and the A1 trunk road suffers from regular delays which have a negative impact on existing businesses that use this route, as well as potential employment and housing development sites close by.
To address these delays, the council commissioned a study to investigate the advantages of widening the MARR to create either a four-lane undivided carriageway or a full dual carriageway.
The study showed that in theory, both options are possible.
However, there are some issues still to be decided – such as the best locations for widening the route, current developments and associated costs, up to a possible £120 million – following consultations with local planning authorities and local landowners.
Another route which suffers from major traffic delays is the A611 route between the M1 at junction 27 and the A60 at Mansfield.
This is a key link to Ashfield and Mansfield town centres and is part of the county’s major road network.
There are several business parks on or near the route, it’s an essential connection to the M1 for businesses, residents and visitors alike.
A study commissioned by Ashfield Council, Mansfield Council and the county council found that delays along the route currently cost society £14 million a year.
The study considered options to improve 11 junctions along the route.
These options could cost between £44 million and £8 million to undertake but could generate potential benefits up to the value of £557 million.
These are very early calculations and we still need to consult with stakeholders, conduct more studies and undertake further investigations.
But it is a very positive start.
Finally, the £41 million Gedling Access Road (GAR) will link the existing A612 Burton Road to the B684 Mapperley Plains and has been designed to reduce congestion in Gedling Village.
It’s part of the Gedling Housing Zone and will see the full redevelopment of the former Gedling colliery site, creating employment opportunities and over 1,000 new homes.
The council has been aware of the concerns raised by residents and local businesses, particularly about possible traffic delays during the construction of GAR and is committed to liaising with those affected and keeping any disruption to a minimum.
To continue making Nottinghamshire a great place to live, work, visit and relax, the council must make sure the road network is fit for purpose now – and the future.
Investing in improving the road network will enable it to do just that.