Hopes of a solution to “gridlock” in Spalding caused by level crossing closures have risen after the launch of a new traffic survey.
County highways officers are carrying out a three-week study of traffic flows in the town from April 16 when cameras and other “monitoring equipment” will be set up at about 60 locations in Spalding.
A team of what Lincolnshire County Council described as “roadside surveyors” will also be in town, asking drivers and other road users where they are travelling from and to, as well as how they are doing so.
The study, due to start just a week after the temporary closure of five level crossings in Spalding for tests by Network Rail, will eventually be used to set up a new “traffic model” for the town.
The Raceground, off Little London, Hawthorn Bank, Winsover Road, Mill Green in Woolran Wygate and Park Road, were closed for nine hours between Tuesday and Saturday for level crossing tests.
Traffic congestion was a topic for debate at a meeting of Spalding Town Forum, South Holland District Council members who serve wards in the town, last Wednesday.
Something has got to be done because my fear is that we’ll eventually have gridlock in the town, not due to the level crossings being shut but the clear-up time afterwardsCoun George Aley, vice-chairman of Spalding Town Forum
Coun George Aley, vice-chairman of Spalding Town Forum, said: “Something has got to be done because my fear is that we’ll eventually have gridlock in the town, not due to the level crossings being shut but the clear-up time afterwards.
“With all the traffic lights at the level crossings, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to clear the congestion before another freight train comes along.”
“The traffic situation will only get worse, with the twin pressures of housebuilding and the freight trains coming through.
“I believe the town just needs a bit of traffic management, but without a great deal of money being spent on it.”
Coun Richard Davies, the county council’s executive member for highways and transport, said: “We will be using a variety of data-gathering tools to gain a better understanding of how traffic currently moves in and around Spalding.
“By collecting up-to-date traffic flow and journey time statistics, we can use it to support the development and planning process for the Spalding Western Relief Road which will help reduce delays and congestion in the town centre, particularly as the amount of passing rail freight increases over the coming years.
“This information will also help support future funding bids to help offset the cost of the relief road by serving as supporting evidence of the need to improve traffic flow in town.”