Today (Wednesday), The Standard launches a new campaign supported by Boston Borough Council. With the Government offering funding of up to £100 million to ‘improve productivity and connectivity of towns, tackle bottlenecks and traffic jams and through traffic’ we want you to help drive that money our way for Transport for Boston.
We’re calling on the Government to send some of the recently announced £100 billion extra money from the National Roads Fund to help pay for, and speed up the building of, the new Boston Distributor Road in a bid to help ease traffic flow around the town.
In an ideal world, a fully-funded new bypass would be the perfect solution for the town’s residents, however, official data continues to show that the majority of traffic is heading into the town, but not coming out the other side.
Officials believe the new distributor road, which has started in the Quadrant and will eventually link the A16 north and south will reduce the impact of traffic dramatically.
The £100 million distributor road, which will include two new bridges, is set out in the Boston Transport Strategy, but at the moment could take more than 20-plus years to complete (the strategy only covers up to 2036).
This is because it would be hugely reliant on contributions from housing developers and funding from already tight budgets.
However, authorities can bid for between £20-50 million and in exceptionally strong cases £100 million – which would cover the majority of costs involved – from the Government this summer.
The Government says the funding will look to ‘improve productivity and connectivity of towns and cities across the country — tackling bottlenecks and traffic jams for road users, and taking away the misery of lorries and through-traffic thundering through rural villages on main roads - with priority for projects which cut congestion, support growth, boost Britain’s global competitiveness or unlock new housing’.
The Government has already listed some main roads it thinks could be considered, and Lincolnshire County Council has also moved to put some extras in its bid.
Announcements about selected projects will be made in the summer.
The Standard’s campaign, which would aim to deliver the petition to the Transport Minister before the summer announcements, is already backed by Boston Borough Council, which says speeding up the plans for the road would reduce town centre congestion, boosting economic development, opening up land for housing and reducing Haven Bridge area air quality issues.
Coun Michael Cooper, Leader of Boston Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the Boston Standard is seeking to harness public support for a fair share of funding for Boston, and the council gives its full backing.
“It is vital that we send the biggest, loudest message we can to Government that we deserve a share of this new money.
“We tick so many boxes – an opportunity to deal with traffic congestion, a plan that is already at an advanced stage, better transportation in an area vital to the nation’s food security, a boost to economic development and job creation, more much-needed housing and a chance to address long-standing air quality issues.
“It’s my ambition that every single resident makes their voice heard and signs this petition.”
“If we can make a good enough case for Boston, with massive public support, we could look forward to improvements in Boston within living memory and not have to wait decades longer.”
The campaign already has support from Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and the Freight Transport Association.
Coun Cooper said: “Research for the Boston Transport Strategy revealed that most journeys begin and end in the town itself, so although in the past a bypass had been seen as the answer to the town’s traffic issues, the reality is it probably wouldn’t improve things as much as we’d hope. This was confirmed by traffic analysis carried out in 2016.
“The distributor road, will make it far easier for people to travel around, helping them get where they’re going quicker. The challenge now is finding the funding needed so I hope everyone gets behind this campaign.”
MP Matt Warman has also supported the campaign, he said: “This initiative is another useful step towards delivering the bypass we all know Boston needs and deserves. I will continue to lobby ministers and work with central government to make sure we deliver it as quickly as possible, and I would encourage all residents to support the campaign.”
To get involved fill in the coupon in The Standard’s paper edition, or sign the petitions which will be available at Municipal Buildings, Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex and the Guildhall.
It is hoped that eventually the forms will also be available from other local retailers.
The council has agreed to collect the forms and coupons, so all entries can be returned to the Municipal Buildings, on West Street, in Boston, PE21 8QN.
You can also email email@example.com with your comments in support of the bid.
All forms, coupons and comments should be in by Monday, April 30.
Factfile: Boston Distributor Road
Boston Distributor Road would provide a new route around the west side of the town, linking the A16 to the north, the A1121 Boardsides and A52 to the west, and the A16 to the south.
A safeguarded corridor for the route has been identified in the draft South East Lincolnshire Local Plan.
The road has been started as part of The Quadrant development by Chestnut Homes.
The scheme provides the initial section of the distributor road by linking the A16 with the adjacent London Road.
The plan at the moment will then be to head south along London Road a short way before another new road is begun which will run to the A52 Grantham Road before crossing the New Hammond back behind Tesco/Aldi - thereby avoiding traffic along Wyberton West Road.
As part of the proposed route, there are sections which would require major structures including road, river and rail bridges over the New Hammond Back, and a similarly larger bridge over the Maud Foster drain.
It is estimated that the entire distributor road would cost in the region of £100m.