The transport minister has said improvements may be on their way for the A16 and A17, despite our area missing out on roads cash in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
Ahead of George Osborne’s speech last Wednesday the Government had revealed bold plans for the ‘biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades’. Not one scheme was to be in Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire County Council explained that the £15 billion was for motorways and major trunk roads run by the Highways Agency and stressed it had already secured cash for schemes such as Lincoln’s Eastern bypass.
However minister of state for transport John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, said he wanted the announcement to be a ‘catalyst’ for improvements to roads such as the A16 and A17.
He wants to introduce ‘passing points’ so that traffic can get passed slow moving vehicles on our main roads.
Mr Hayes has already met logistics firms and Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and will hold further talks about the A16 and A17 in the new year.
He said: “Our local roads are not controlled by the Highways Agency but that doesn’t mean to say we can’t all work together to make the necessary changes.”
He said the work needs to be done to link our traffic to roads such as the A47 and A1 which are getting improvements, adding: “It’s okay to improve the arteries but you need to look at the veins too - what I want to look at is all kinds of veins which spread across Lincolnshire but also other counties too.
“There are always other schemes we need to look at, they may be relatively small schemes - pinch-points, junctions and roundabouts - but they can make a massive difference.”
Mr Hayes added: “Essentially it’s about traffic flow, traffic safety and easing congestion.
“The only way you can do that is to create some means by which people can pass slow moving traffic.
“You are always going to have slow moving vehicles on these roads for the reason that they are the main routes for hauliers, but what we want to make sure is that every other road user can safely pass these vehicles.
“In truth, previous Governments should have thought about that when they planned these roads, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something now.
“Just because past mistakes were made in the planning of these roads, it doesn’t mean we can’t respond to today’s demands.”