Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group
 
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Press Release - 29 Mar 2006

Michael Borrill writes to the Editor of the Boston Standard

DOCK LINK ROAD vs. BYPASS

We all wonder what is happening when Lincolnshire County Council press ahead with the above proposed road, against public opinion, take it as far as a Public Enquiry, then say it may not happen due to increased costs.

The villain in this saga appears to be LCC but we have to remember that the Southern Economic Corridor (which included the Dock Link Road) was first proposed about four years ago. During this time Boston Borough Council has been promoting the scheme with vigorous energy when anyone with the least amount of knowledge of the infrastructure of Boston would know it would only complicate matters and if built in its entirety with all the connected development, would quickly cancel out any part of a traffic solution in the dock area.

If Boston Borough Council had gone for a bypass instead of pressing ahead with this scheme, a route could now be on the map and Boston could have been included in the recently approved 2LTP ahead of the Lincoln Eastern bypass. I say could, but it would have been in the same state of readiness as the Lincoln proposal.

David Woods, the project manager for the Dock Link Road and also the Transport Study, cites the Dock Link Road as being an option, together with a bypass or series of distributor roads. Back in October 2005, he was quoted as saying that there was no reason why the proposed Southern Link Road could not sit alongside other distributor roads and other improvements to the highway network in Boston. That is fine, but only if the Dock Link Road together with a bypass or distributor road was being built - the infrastructure would be marvellous compared with now - but we know the two will not happen.

Mr Woods puts great faith in the Transport Study that is being undertaken. He would! But let us look at certain facts that are known concerning this study. We are not convinced that a full count of HGV traffic is being taken. We know that not all transport operators have replied to questionnaires, if indeed they have been contacted. The recent Inspector’s report quotes only 2% HGV traffic on links affected by the DLR but 4% down part of Spilsby Road. The AM peak flow of HGV’s over Haven Bridge 2-way is only 55 vehicles. These figures given by Lincolnshire County Council seem incredibly low.

The postcard system of census was used but we are assured that the system will be fair and is the same method and model that is used in other towns. How many towns have just one suitable river crossing for HGV’s? The Inspector said in his report, “There are considerable volumes of slow traffic on Boston’s roads which, coupled with the very few main routes through the town (themselves limited by the number of river crossings), leads to congestion and slow journey times through the town.”

There is also concern about the appropriate noting of vehicles using “rat runs”. We have heard that costs curtail that more thorough investigation of these roads. The Transport Study is costing in the region of £400,000 and if the correct data is not being obtained this will be a waste of our money. Let us hope that our fears are unfounded.

But returning to the Dock Link Road, it is stated that only 5% of the traffic using the new road would be travelling to and from the dock. That explains the prediction of an increase of 40% of traffic using Skirbeck Road, i.e. 95% of traffic using the new road and going onto a road totally unsuitable to sustain that amount of traffic.

The Inspector rightly says, “The local transport infrastructure is seen as a significant weakness in the continued economic growth of the town and is a major discouraging factor in the Borough’s ability to attract inward investment.”

How different to Cllr Joyce Dobson’s reply to the question I asked at a recent Boston Borough Council meeting (all questions can be seen on this website - click here), when I asked: -

“Boston is suffering economically through incorrect decisions being taken which will affect the area for some time. A booming tourist industry is there for the begging but the right conditions have to be in place. The road infrastructure has to be rectified sooner rather than later or instead of industry locating here, the reverse will happen. Boston Borough Council must put a more positive emphasis on roads, putting them to the forefront of development and showing a more resolute stance towards Lincolnshire County council, who must be pressed at every opportunity. What action is the Council taking?”

Cllr Dobson in her reply mentioned all the developments that had taken place, i.e. Pescod Square, new cinema, etc., but unfortunately omitted The Princess Royal Arena. Cllr Dobson finished her reply with: -

“All our plans along with acknowledgement of what has already been achieved locally have been fed into Lincolnshire County Council’s Transport Study. Such a submission is obviously the correct way to ensure that our current and perceived future road infrastructure needs to support the development activity projected within our plans are properly factored into such an exercise.”

That is fine Cllr Dobson, but what the town needs is industry to bring jobs and prosperity to the area. Whilst new shopping facilities are good for the image they will soon close if shoppers travel to Spalding or Skegness or are frightened by traffic congestion or indeed, car parking charges. This is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

To return to my original remarks, if Boston Borough Council had pushed for a bypass four years ago instead of these schemes, we would now be seeing a better picture and possibly looking at a bypass in the next 5 years.

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

 

Martin Hill's letter to the BBEG
"The County Council has listened to the people of Boston and abandoned the Southern Economy Corridor Route ... "

"You are incorrect to state that Boston Bypass is not mentioned in the second local transport plan ... there is much work to do and I welcome your support in doing that."
22 March 2006
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