Opportunity to remodel the town is immense once relief road is finished
Column by Councillor Richard Davies, Lincolnshire County Council executive member for highways
Hopefully, by now you will have noticed the vast undertaking south of Grantham as the bypass takes shape.
This week saw traffic diverted on to the newly widened stretch of carriageway so work can begin to build a grade-separated bridge for the A1 over the new bypass, as part of the new junction.
Construction is being done in two sections; firstly the west side of the bridge is being dug out while traffic is diverted along the east side of the A1 and when this is finished the traffic will be redirected to the west carriageway and the final half of the bridge constructed. Either side of this will sit roundabouts that are fed from new slip roads from the A1.
The eastern roundabout will connect to the stretch of the relief road already built, and phase three of the road will launch from the new Spittlegate roundabout across the River Witham and East Coast Main Line before linking up with Old Somerby roundabout.
When built, the Grantham southern relief road will stretch for 3.5km, linking the A52 at Somerby Hill to the A1.
When completed in winter 2022/23, the opportunity to remodel how Grantham works is immense. The southern relief road will take a significant volume of traffic, including HGVs, out of the town centre and open up fantastic opportunities for us to improve the Grantham environment.
For starters, we can implement restrictions on heavy goods vehicles to stop them choking up the town centre. Being bolder, we could reduce the road space on the high street and build out the pavements, plant trees and provide space for people rather than cars. Why not look to increase the use of public and sustainable transport by creating green corridors when buses, pedestrians and cyclists get priority over cars and lorries?
There are ambitious plans for the south of Grantham, including the Spitalgate Heath garden village development and the Rioja designer outlet village. The relief road is critical to both – and the future of the whole town.
Some of this will be controversial, some expensive and some may fall into the ‘too difficult’ box; however, let us not fail before we start and talk down the opportunity ahead of us as happened too often before.
More by this authorGraham Newton