We take on Boston’s big traffic challenge

Boston Standard staff doing a Top Gear style challenge.'L-R Daniel Jaines, Darren Sykes, Laura Hammond, Andrew Brooks.
Boston Standard staff doing a Top Gear style challenge.'L-R Daniel Jaines, Darren Sykes, Laura Hammond, Andrew Brooks.

GETTING into Boston in the morning rush hour is a bit of a challenge at the moment - with the latest batch of roadworks piling misery onto motorists.

We decided to send our team out on a Top Gear-style road test to see just how bad it is.

Deputy editor Andrew Brookes outlines how he got on in his car against accounts administrator Darren Sykes on his bike, senior reporter Laura Hammond on foot and reporter Daniel Jaines on a scooter...

IT SEEMS simple enough. The Spirit of Endeavour to Fish Hill in the middle of Boston.

According to the AA’s online Route Planner it should be about 1.3 miles and just three minutes – a mere couple of roundabouts up Spalding Road and across to High Street then Bob’s your uncle.

Plenty of time to leave at 8.50am and get to our destination before 9am.

Only this is Boston in the grip of its latest batch of roadworks, so you’d probably better not bank on meeting up with uncle Bob quite so swiftly.

I had already sat through a sizeable queue coming up to the Spirit of Endeavour, edging slowly northwards from Wyberton onwards, so I knew what was to come.

Still, me and my not-so-flash Ford Ka really should have been able to beat Laura on foot?

Well, sadly not. From the Spirit onwards it was basically one long snaking queue - with little or no progress around the first two roundabouts and stopping straight away so that pedestrians could cross my traffic-ridden path.

Luckily I had a decent CD on. Not-so-luckily it had already been through all the tracks once.

I never quite threatened to top the heady heights of 0.1 miles a minute and slowly but surely realised I was doomed for a last placed finish.

Beyond Liquorpond Street roundabout the traffic started to disperse and I became re-introduced to my old friends second, third and fourth (!) gear.

From then it was pretty straightforward (bar avoiding a cyclist who tried to veer into my path) and I limped over the finish line after a grand total of 16 minutes and 40 seconds.

Safe to say I was a comfortable last. Laura had completed her walk in a mere 15 minutes and Daniel having arrived in second on the scooter in just under 14 minutes, although having lost a little ‘street cred’ in the process.

Darren sailed over the finish line first - having only had a traffic light stop and delivery van swerve to contend with - arriving in 7 mins 36.96 secs.

Having done this journey before in less troubled times I have to say that the three minute estimate from the AA seems a little ambitious - since Spalding Road always seems to have more traffic that most.

But 16 mins 40 secs is still pretty poor going. You do worry what, in the long term, this will do for the town’s reputation.

Most people will already know that Boston suffers from pretty heavy traffic but if your first impression of the town comes in a morning queue you’d be left with an impression that’d be tough to shake...