A17 improvement plan ‘flawed’, says councillor

Coun Peter Coupland, Lincolnshire County Council member for Holbeach Rural, is to lobby for a new slip road to be built for the A17 at Fleet Hargate, instead of an overtaking lane further up the road between Gedney and Lutton Garnsgate. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG150717-121TW.

Plans for a £2.5million overtaking lane on the A17 between Gedney and Lutton Garnsgate are “flawed”, according to the area’s new county councillor.

The scheme, announced by Lincolnshire County Council in March, would see nearly half of a £5.4million grant from the Department for Transport to “improve journey times and reliability by reducing congestion”.

But Coun Peter Coupland, elected as county councillor for the Holbeach Rural ward, which includes Gedney, in May, claimed the money would be “ill-spent” and better used on creating a new slip road in Fleet Hargate.

During a meeting of Gedney Parish Council in Gedney Drove End last Tuesday, Coun Coupland said: “Lincolnshire County Council is looking at a scheme to make the A17 from Gedney to Lutton Garnsgate three lanes.

“I think the scheme is flawed because it’s supposed to ease congestion on a road that I travel on three times a week and don’t experience congestion.

“If any money wants spending on the A17, it’s in Fleet Hargate, where we’ve got a bottleneck near Lowgate.

“I don’t think the A17 between Gedney and Lutton Garnsgate is a congested road, so I’m most definitely going to speak against the plans to make it a three-lane road because it’s a lot of money that’s going to be ill-spent.”

A timetable for the scheme would see a detailed design completed in October, work starting in January 2018 and the new-look, one-mile section of the A17 completed next April.

In a statement, the county council said: “The Gedney 2+1 improvement scheme will provide overtaking lane sections for both directions of travel, with the north-westbound lane between the changeover and Station Road, Gedney, while the south-eastbound overtaking lane is provided between the changeover and Lutton Garnsgate.

“The improvements will provide road users with safe overtaking opportunities in both directions and increased journey time reliability.

“The Gedney 2+1 improvement scheme will cost £2.5million, funded using part of the £5.4million allocated to the authority by the Department of Transport (DfT) from its National Productivity Investment Fund.

“The money was awarded to the authority to help reduce congestion at key locations, upgrade or improve the maintenance of local highway assets, improve access to employment and housing and develop economic and job creation opportunities.”

But Coun Coupland said: “In my opinion, this stretch of road is wide and in good condition, so overtaking and congestion isn’t a serious problem.

“I feel the use of taxpayers’ money on this scheme isn’t sound and will create more congestion further along the A17 at Fleet Hargate, where the T-junction requires improvement as a matter of urgency.”

• What do you think? Email jeremy.ransome@

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