HS2 build 'will fuel A1 congestion'
Lincolnshire’s highways chief has warned of traffic chaos when building HS2 diverts traffic from the M1 to the A1.
Coun Richard Davies says the dual-carriageway is already at capacity and diverting the traffic will “exacerbate a busy, dangerous and congested road”.
He says this will happen when works starts on HS2, possibly in a couple of years, which will then disrupt the M1, forcing traffic on the A1.
HS2 is a high speed railway, the first phase of which will connect Birmingham with London and is due to be completed by 2026. It will eventually extend to Manchester and Leeds with completion expected by 2033.
Coun Davies’ warning about the impact on the A1 comes as Highways England is undertaking a safety survey of the A1 between Peterborough and Doncaster, which is due for completion this summer.
Initial findings, he says, suggest that the main hazard is caused by vehicles running into the back of another, rather than vehicles crossing the road and hitting traffic at right angles.
Highways England, Lincolnshire County Council, police and others have been meeting to discuss A1’s future, with a further meeting due in June.
Coun Davies warns that with both South Kesteven District Council and Rutland County Council having major housing plans – with Grantham expecting developments at the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, the Spitalgate Heath garden village and designer retail outlets at each end of the town – traffic congestion can only worsen.
The Conservative councillor says the A1 needs more than just a few new signs but rather “a proper plan to upgrade the road”.
But making it a motorway would cost billions and he doubts the government would spend it, needing a campaign, involving MPs, councils, and others.
He said: “We have to convince the highways agency to come up with a strategy to for the road that addresses congestion and capacity.”
Highways England confirmed it had done a detailed study on the A1 and will now analyse the data to identify possible future improvements.
“Meanwhile, we are committed to working with HS2 Ltd to co-ordinate activity as far as possible, minimising disruption to road users and keeping the network moving, while this transformational scheme is being designed and built.”