Government’s £15billion will bypass county

ECONOMIC LIFELINE: South Holland's food industry relies on roadlinks like the A16.
ECONOMIC LIFELINE: South Holland's food industry relies on roadlinks like the A16.
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But South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes, also a Government transport minister, says business in the south of the county will benefit from improvements to the A47 and the A1 in and around Peterborough, including a move to ease congestion at the notorious black cat roundabout.

Mr Hayes said: “I want this to be the catalyst for further consideration of what more can be done to the A16 and A17.”

South Holland’s specialist food hauliers, food businesses and Chamber of Commerce bosses are pressing for dualling or part-dualling of the A16 from Spalding to Peterborough, which runs through Crowland.

Industry bosses met Mr Hayes at 10 Downing Street only days ago and warned that fast growing food companies and hauliers could die without improved infrastructure.

Mr Hayes is looking at potential passing points on the A16 and A17 so drivers can overtake slow-moving vehicles.

He said: “Essentially it’s about traffic flow, traffic safety and easing congestion. The only way you can do that is to create some means by which people can pass slow moving traffic. You are always going to have slow moving vehicles on these roads for the reason that they are the main routes for hauliers, but what we want to make sure is that every other road user can safely pass these vehicles.

“In truth, previous Governments should have thought about that when they planned these roads, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something now.

“Our local roads are not controlled by the Highways Agency but that doesn’t mean to say we can’t all work together to make the necessary changes.

The MP said “we need to go the extra mile” to link any future A16 improvements to upgrades planned for the A47 and A1.

He said: “It’s okay to improve the arteries but you need to look at the veins too – what I want to look at is all kinds of veins which spread across Lincolnshire but also other counties too. There are always other schemes we need to look at, they may be relatively small schemes – pinch-points, junctions and roundabouts – but they can make a massive difference.”

Mr Hayes said the spending announcement “marks the most ambitious and comprehensive plan to improve our road network in living memory”.

Spalding Chamber of Commerce president Phil Scarlett said: “I suspect if we do passing places on the A16, we would be calling in a matter of months for it to be dualled, but if that is all he is going to do then I would take it. I have to say we may be playing politics here. We have the announcement of major Government spending and the agenda behind this is the general election next year,”

Mr Hayes is calling a meeting in January with the county and district councils, the Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership and business leaders.

• Peterborough shares in a £300million package to transform the A47 – this includes dualling the road from Peterborough to the A1. A “strategic study” will look at the future of the A1 between Peterborough and the M25, including whether to upgrade the old dual carriageway to motorway standard.