A serious accident on the A1 on Thursday morning has sparked renewed calls for government to turn the road into a motorway.
A man in his 50s died and another was injured and taken to hospital for treatment following the crash between a van and a car at the Marston Toll Bar junction near Gonerby Moor.
The road was closed for hours while emergency services dealt with the incident, and queues of up to 10 miles between Grantham and Newark were reported.
Lincolnshire County Council’s highways chief Councillor Richard Davies said his thoughts were with the families of those involved.
“It’s time for government to upgrade the A1 to a motorway,” he tweeted. It carries more HGV traffic than M1, so deserves proper funding.”
Thoughts with those involved. It's time for government to upgrade the A1 to a motorway. It carries more HGV traffic than M1 so deserves proper funding.
Many thanks to blue light services for all their work, I can’t imagine how tough it must be. https://t.co/JnALFWaTsU
— Richard Davies (@rgdavies) August 13, 2020
Speaking to Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines, Councillor Davies said the road, particularly between Peterborough to Doncaster, was the “poor relation” to some others in the country.
He said it had been a massive issue for his and neighbouring wards in his list of concerns since he was elected in 2009.
“It’s the backbone of the East side of the UK but never gets as much attention.”
Lobbies and reports compiled by backers of the proposals, including Midlands Connect, estimate there is an accident which closes the road and “grinds traffic to a halt” at least once a fortnight, causing massive tailbacks and delays for commuters and residents.
And with 100,000 houses planned along the route over the next 20 years, Councillor Davies says he’s “under no illusion” about the size of the problem and how it could get worse.
“It’s a real driver for the growth programme, but it needs a fundamental upgrade. Rather than tinkering around the edges, we need to see the road upgraded to a full motorway.”
Carrying out the works would improve safety, connect the midlands to the rest of the country and, on top of other road improvements such as the Lincoln Eastern Bypass and Spalding Western Relief Road, improve the economy by making it easier to access places such as the coast.
The government has for a while been pushing its levelling up plans, however, Councillor Davies said: “Unless we are going to get proper infrastructure investment on things like the A1, we’re not going to see that level up.”
Mr Davies is under no illusion about the “eye-watering” cost would be great, but says it would be a fraction of the cost of the controversial HS2 project.
He said: “If we are going to see Lincolnshire, and my home town [Grantham] really benefit, we need a dramatic departure in policy for how government invests money.”
A recent statement from Grantham MP Gareth Davies called for upgrades to the A1 between Grantham and Stamford, however, did not menton it becoming a motorway.
Instead he called for reviews into the gaps and metal barriers in the central reservation and the safety of laybys.