May 22, 2023 1.00 pm This story is over 10 months old

Spalding roundabout upgrades raise safety concerns for cyclists and pedestrians

Footbridge deemed too expensive

The Pedals Spalding Cycle Action Group has expressed concerns that the proposed £15 million improvements to two roundabouts in Spalding might create a greater risk to cyclists and pedestrians.

The group has called on Lincolnshire County Council to include a footbridge or signal crossing as part of their “levelling up” initiative for the Springfield and Greencell Roundabouts.

However, council officers argue that a footbridge would come with substantial costs, including the purchase of additional land. They also claim that signal crossings would hinder traffic flow, undermining the benefits of the works.

Under the proposed plans for the Springfield Roundabout, it would be expanded with additional approach lanes added on the A16 and extended entry lanes on the A151 approaches.

The Greencell Roundabout improvements would involve junction widening to accommodate two wider lanes within the roundabout. Additionally, the two-lane approaches and exits on the A16 would be lengthened.

During a meeting of the council’s Highways and Transport Committee on Monday, a letter from the Pedals group was read out, stating: “We are dismayed that the impact of the proposals on the nearby cycle walking route has been completely overlooked.

“The route enables safer cycling and walking, connecting the built-up area of Spalding with several visitor and employment destinations.”

“The design of the proposed improvements to Springfield roundabout will make it much more difficult and dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

“There will be more lanes of traffic to cross, and the A16 will move more freely and faster than at present.”

There are fears that cyclists or pedestrians could be injured

The initial works on the Springfields Roundabout are scheduled to commence in September and last for 12 months, while the Greencell works will begin in July 2024 and continue until March 2025.

Both projects will also involve a complete rebuild of the roundabouts’ drainage systems, along with new surfacing, signs, lines, and lighting columns.

Funding for these projects will come from a portion of the £20 million ‘Levelling Up’ funding that was awarded to the county council in October 2021.

Council officer Sam Edwards explained that a footbridge had been considered in the plans but cited “extreme engineering challenges” as a hindrance.

These challenges included land acquisition and planning permission requirements, which could result in the funding deadline passing before the money could be utilised.

However, Mr Edwards stated that the absence of a footbridge in the present plan did not preclude its addition in the future.

Regarding a signalised crossing, he said: “The bid for this particular junction prioritised traffic flows and improving the freight route.

“Including signalised crossings on the A16 would hinder traffic flow, which goes against the bid’s objectives for this project.”

He estimated that the cost of a footbridge would be “in the millions, not tens or hundreds of thousands.”

Councillor Tom Ashton expressed concerns about the astronomical costs associated with the current scheme, saying cycling should be supported without significantly increasing expenses.

Councillor Rob Gibson called for the consideration of a footbridge in the future.

He pointed out the current dangers of the road, stating, “I have witnessed children narrowly escaping traffic while running and dancing across the road.

“On one side, we have Springfields, the skatepark, and other amenities, and on the other side, we have McDonald’s. We cannot stop children from going to McDonald’s, and they will cross this road.”

“We are risking a serious accident. I was quoted two million pounds for a bridge, but how do you measure the value of a child’s life?

“By installing this bridge, we could improve the cycling route all the way to Holbeach.”

The committee voted in support of the recommendations while acknowledging that road safety audits had been conducted and that there were improvement plans for the crossing points.

They also noted that the footbridge “can be added at a later date if the need is proved.”