Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group
 
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Press Release - 24 July 2006

The BBEG present their interpretation of the definition of "through traffic" and their interpretation of the figures produced from the results of the Transport Strategy

1. What is the definition of "through traffic"?
To the people of Boston "through traffic" is that which has to cross the River Haven and River Witham via the Haven Bridge or Grand Sluice Bridge.

Traffic can come from anywhere from the South, West or North into Boston up to the river and be counted as coming into Boston. Traffic can come from anywhere from the North or East into Boston up to the river and be counted as coming into Boston. But any traffic which has to cross the river East to West or West to East, however short or long a journey is, must be counted as "through traffic", because there is no other way of getting across the river without taking the route around via Langrick Bridge.

Using these facts, what is the percentage of bridge crossing traffic in relation to total traffic? (My colleague Michael Borrill’s report below elaborates on this.)

There are 7 main roads feeding into Boston, most traffic trying to get in and over the bridges at the same time. These are:
A16 from Spalding
B1397 from the Kirton
A52 from Grantham
A1121 from Sleaford
B1183 from Horncastle
A16 from Spilsby
A52 from Skegness
plus Skirbeck Road and Eastwood Road.

All these facts are not being taken into account by the people conducting this survey because they do not know (or want to know) the local geography of the area around Boston.

The question of bridge crossing traffic being counted as "through traffic" was put to the Leader of Boston Borough Council on the 20th December 2004, long before the Transport Study started. The reply given was that, "The points made are most valid and Boston Borough Council will seek to comment and input to the terms of reference or brief for the County Council's study when it is published."

Ted Brooks
Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
www.bbeg.org.uk


2. The BBEG's interpretation of the Transport Strategy results
When the Transport Study for Boston was announced, we all thought the congestion problems we encounter on a daily basis would be looked at in a rational way, the volume of vehicles shown in the counts and the visual impact to be seen would quickly show that the town needed a robust solution not "a bit-part solution".

From the start it was obvious that it was not to be as simple as that. The Stakeholders Reference Group, set up to give opinions on the way forward, could have been formed with a more representative selection of the community who knew full well the problems associated with Boston and not County orientated. At a meeting, Jacobs Babtie quoted, "local people are bound to know more about Boston and its traffic!"

At the outset an estimate of the work was obtained at £370,000 plus £20,000 for project management costs, but later a figure of £260,000 was indicated. However the costs are split between different factions of the study. If attention to detail is not there due to insufficient monies being on the table, the figures produced will not be accurate. An example of this can be shown in that the "rat runs" were discussed with the engineers and Michael Borrill produced a detailed map indicating the various routes round Boston. It took some time for cameras to be sited for one day, but not all the roads being used were covered. This was entirely due to the fact that Jacobs Babtie had to discuss with LCC and seek extra funding from them.

Several other major issues were discussed, but a satisfactory outcome has not been seen:

  • Is the computer model used for this Study truly representative for the situation in Boston? The engineers say it is, but Boston is unique in that the river crossings dictate more than other towns with the same population.
  • The postcode system has still been used and although the codes are allocated to a zoning system, this works to the detriment of Boston, as once again we come back to the bridge syndrome.
  • The post card system is unreliable, in that local people would fill in cards and return them, whereas people passing through would be reluctant to complete the form. Unreturned cards would then be taken into account and a "factoring up" would take place, but this would have a negative effect, if the factoring was mainly done on Boston to Boston destinations.
  • The system of collating HGV’s and commercial vehicles is not thorough enough. Cards were given out to drivers, but once again it is hit and miss. A questionnaire was also sent out to various companies in the area but a poor return was seen. This should have been followed up more thoroughly to get a more adequate picture of various HGV movements and more importantly, the criss-crossing through the town of agricultural vehicles, especially tractors and trailers.
  • The time of day used to collate the information is not peak for Boston.

The consultation period has now been entered into and the data that has been provided confirms that the postcode system is working against Boston once again. The figure being passed around is approximately 15% through traffic, over the Haven bridge. This is based on the zoning system and if the Boston North Zone is looked at, we find it extends past the railway crossing on Sibsey Road and beyond any proposed bypass.

Having looked at the figures and the zones, and taking the actual figures produced by Jacobs Babtie, the estimate by the BBEG of "through traffic" that is crossing the bridge from South to North and vice versa, is more in the region of 75-78% on the A16 and A52 routes.

We have also been told that few vehicles travelling from the North to South zones would use a bypass. That is an understatement.

It is also known that a large volume of vehicles, HGV’s, tankers and private cars, now use an alternative route through Langrick and Coningsby. A large portion of this traffic would relocate to any proposed bypass.

Looking at Southbound destinations it is estimated that approximately 60% of traffic on the main routes could transfer to a bypass if junctions were available at the intersections of any proposed route. That is adding into the equation the North and South zones etc, which are detailed as "Boston" traffic. It is realised that these figures are only indicative, as are the figures quoted by Jacobs Babtie. Having said this, it is realised that Jacobs Babtie do realise the importance of "through traffic" to give a reliable and good case for Boston, but unfortunately, the Public Consultation document states that "the proportion of through traffic is small".

The whole economy of the area depends greatly on the Transport Study finding a solution to Boston’s transport nightmare. There has to be a quick solution. It is no good saying that, "No work be undertaken on any 'aspirational schemes' during the period of the 2nd Local Transport Plan (LTP2)", of which Boston is one such scheme. Lincolnshire County Council and Boston Borough Council must get their heads together to sort this out before the situation deteriorates further. It has been demonstrated that this is not currently happening, since the Transport Study team were not aware of the proposed development in the West Street area when we spoke to them on Wednesday (19 July 2006).

We realise that funding is a problem, but there is no reason why a start could not be made with funds that are available from other schemes, which we are now told, can be transferred.

Michael Borrill
Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
www.bbeg.org.uk
24 July 2006

 

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Read the BBEG leaflet...


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