Lincoln needs its bypass completing. I, along with the local Liberal Democrats, have been calling for this for a number of years. We know that the completion of the bypass is what the majority of the people want. But the failure by successive government and Lincolnshire County Council to finish the project, so that the bypass encircles the whole city, is nothing short of disgraceful.
You might be asking why do we need a bypass after all this time. Let us consider the facts.
Lincoln is the major city in this part of the county and is developing both its industrial and tourist bases. To do this in the 21st century requires a proper transport system. The city’s streets were not designed for heavy traffic flows and increasingly the roads into the city from the north and west are becoming car parks for much of the day, with vehicles struggling to pass through the city.
Added to this, The Lincolnite has reported over the past couple of weeks a number of forthcoming traffic problems in the city, from seven weeks of essential gas works on Newark Road which will take us through July and August to six weeks of road works at the Brayford Wharf East and Wigford Way junction in the same period. Whilst in September and October, the council is going to dig up the Rookery Road junction.
As if that end of the city had not had enough road works recently. All of this will pile the traffic into the city centre, with much of it just wanting to get from the Bunkers Hill roundabout end of the current by-pass to the A15 south toward Sleaford or from the A46 Pennell’s roundabout to Bracebridge Heath. Both of these routes require heavy goods vehicles, vans and cars to travel into the city and out again through residential areas. This is not an ideal situation.
Now we hear the Secretary of State for Transport has blocked the plans for part of the bypass from Bunkers Hill to Washingborough Road so delaying the process even more.
What annoys me and many people is that had the bypass been built twenty years ago, Lincoln would have benefited by now from the development in the infill land and improved the quality of life for those who have to suffer the daily traffic jams as people try to get around the eastern and southern side of the city. It would also have paid for itself by now.
The delays will lead to an increased cost when the bypass is finally built, which it surely must be. This result will be that the average resident of Lincoln will have to pay more via their taxes.
If I was to be cynical, I would think that the reason the cross over on Hawthorn Road has become an issue is so a friend of the Conservatives who is building the bypass can make an extra few thousand pounds. Everyone knows that a simple road bridge over the bypass would solve all the problems. This is what happened on Burton Road some years ago. So what is the problem?
It is not as though people passing through Lincoln on their way to the coast or to the farming areas of the county want to stop in the city and shop. The people who want to shop are looking for a decent park and ride or low cost car parking. Most people heading for the coast or the Wolds just want to pass through Lincoln and be on their way. They will use the likes of the Cherry Tree Cafe at Sudbrooke if they are heading for the coast, or one of the service areas on the bypass.
It is time that transport in Lincoln was treated as a priority whether that is the bypass, the provision of bus services in the evening or an increase in the number of trains to London. We have had years of prevarication by both Labour and the Tories, it is time for action.