A NINE-day road closure and two weeks of traffic lights will cause a major headache for motorists, as work begins to improve safety measures on one of the district’s busiest roads.
The A151 through Whaplode and Moulton will be closed for at the height of the work, with motorists also facing long tailbacks due to traffic lights operating either side of the closure dates.
Work starts on Monday when two-way traffic lights will go up.
Then from Saturday, March 12 the road will be closed to traffic and will not reopen until March 20.
The closure will be from the A16 roundabout near McDonald’s in Spalding to the A151 link road roundabout at Holbeach – the main route for commuters between the two towns.
There will be local access along the route but most of the 13,500 vehicles that use the road every day are facing a 15.8-mile diversion along the A16 and A17.
Gatemen will be stationed at each junction to stop unsuitable vehicles entering.
Once the road reopens there is a possibility that the work will have to be finished under two-way lights between March 21 and 28.
The work is to install a new safety scheme which includes lower speed limits, interactive signs and central islands.
Initially Lincolnshire County Council, which is responsible for the work, said it was unlikely that the road would have to be closed and that the work would be done under a convoy system.
However following further investigation, the council has decided that the road is not wide enough to accommodate a convoy.
A spokesman said the decision had been made to protect the workforce and to allow the work, which was originally expected to take four weeks, to be carried out more quickly.
The scheme includes:
• speed limit reductions from 40mph to 30mph through Whaplode, from 60mph to 50mph from Weston to Whaplode and from Whaplode to the link road roundabout at Holbeach
• reactive signs at each end of Whaplode and Moulton, including speed indicator signs coming into Whaplode from Moulton
• three centre refuges at key points in Whaplode to make it safer for people to cross.
The scheme follows a ten-year fight by A151 campaigners, who are lobbying for a bypass for Whaplode and Moulton.
Although this is not the outcome they wanted, the group is saying it’s the next best thing.
South Holland district councillor Bob Creese, who has been one of the driving forces behind the campaign, said: “It is not the bypass we want, nevertheless, it’s a huge step in the right direction.”
• Bus company Norfolk Green has had to reorganise its timetable due to the works.
Operations manager Richard Pengelly said: “We have had to put on extra buses and staff to keep our 20-minute frequency.
“We’ve been told that while the road is closed we will have access using a convoy system.
“It is an inconvenience but we understand that it has to be done.”
Timetable information is available at www.norrfolkgreen.co.uk or by calling 01553 776980.