‘Bridge needed to ease the town’s traffic woes’

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A BRIDGE needs to be built over the railway line in Spalding town centre to ease traffic congestion, according to a leading councillor.

A BRIDGE needs to be built over the railway line in Spalding town centre to ease traffic congestion, according to a leading councillor.

Coun Howard Johnson believes a bridge over the tracks needs to be part of a long-term fix to the town’s traffic troubles – including a full western bypass.

The county and district councillor’s comments come ahead of a 16-week job to fix a problem sewer at Swan Street, that has regularly been shut over the last few years for repairs.

In the past three years work at Albion Street, Pinchbeck Road and Twin Bridges have left the town in a state of gridlock and Coun Johnson says that while highways bosses will try to make sure that does not happen with Swan Street, action needs to be taken to make sure the town is less at risk of traffic chaos.

Earlier this year residents were asked for their views on two possible routes for a road linking Spalding Common with the A151 Bourne Road, which would be part of a full western bypass of Spalding.

The road, which would have to be funded by private developers, would link up to a bridge over the railway line at Spalding Common which is being built as part of the 2,250-home Holland Park development. A separate road would be added from Bourne Road to Pinchbeck Road to make the full bypass.

Coun Johnson said: “We need a bypass of course but my own view is that, above all, we need another bridge over the railway line.

“The bridge in Holland Park will at least help – that was number one on the agenda when those plans were discussed.

“I would very much like to see one in the town centre itself. If we could somehow get one there it would make a dramatic improvement.”

Coun Johnson said the difficulty will be to find a suitable site for the bridge, given the fact that there is development close to the tracks for much of the part that runs through the centre of town.

He feels current traffic problems have not been helped by a lack of foresight by previous councillors, dating back several decades.

Coun Johnson added: “It’s not the current crop of councillors or even the ones before who set this scheme up.

“It has been a case of bad planning.”

Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce President Jason Rooke says traders accept the need for roadworks such as the ones at Swan Street that start this week but urged the authorities to “get on with it” and get the jobs done as quickly as possible.

Many businesses and residents were upset at the slow progress made with Twin Bridges that saw the junction affected for several months.

Mr Rooke said: “I can’t see Swan Street causing the same problems that Twin Bridges caused – that was absolute mayhem.

“I think it is a necessary evil but I can’t see why those things take 16 weeks. They have got Albion Street shut at the moment too and there never seems to be anybody there.

“When they do these things they need to get on with it and appreciate the disruption they are causing.”

Mr Rooke is calling for much better signage in the town to help newcomers make sense of Spalding’s road network.

He added: “If you try telling someone who does not know the area how to get somewhere in Spalding it is not easy. I don’t really think the signage or the layout help people to find things like the car parks in the town centre.

“There’s isn’t an easy answer to some of the traffic issues because some of it is probably a little bit late to sort now but better signage will help.

“We have discussed it as a Chamber and I think we will try to make some suggestions for new signs.”