'Our stretch of the A1 needs an upgrade' says Grantham MP Gareth Davies
Column by Gareth Davies, MP for Grantham and Stamford
It was once said that roads are made for journeys not destinations. We spend so much of our lives on our roads.
Over time I would like to see us spend far less –this would certainly help the environment, but for now, so many rely on a well-functioning road network to get about.
Most of our local highways fall within the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council, but some roads are so critical that they are managed by a dedicated agency called Highways England – responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network.
This network includes motorways and major arterial roads such as the A1. While they make up just 2.4 per cent of England’s road network, the Department for Transport has estimated that they carry 34 per cent of all traffic each year. Therefore, any economic recovery and ‘levelling up’ agenda must consider the importance of the A1 for connecting the north with the south.
I believe that the A1 between Grantham and Stamford is in need of improvement. Indeed my first ever question in the House of Commons was on this very matter.
We all know that our stretch of the A1 can get badly congested, and we experience almost weekly accidents. While, fortunately, the majority of accidents are relatively minor, this can still back up traffic for miles and pour diverted vehicles into our villages and towns.
Analysis by Highways England shows that there are identified “clusters” of accidents in certain areas and that they are typically caused by the same actions. Based on this, I have therefore called on Highways England to improve the A1 in three specific ways.
Firstly, the gaps in the central reservation on some parts of the road are convenient for some, but incredibly dangerous for many and we know that accidents have been caused by vehicles trying to get across the lanes. While statutory consultations with impacted local communities will need to be launched (and these can take years), I have asked that a review on these gaps be expedited.
Secondly, many of the accidents are caused by late lane changes as cars pull out from lay-bys, and so I have asked for a review of the quality and safety of our lay-bys.
Thirdly, the metal barriers on the central reservation act as a critical safety barrier to prevent head-on collisions. Given their obvious importance, I have asked that they be reviewed and upgraded wherever required as soon as possible.
If carried out, these three improvements will help with traffic flow, free up our police, reduce overspill into our villages and make for an easier, safer journey for all of us.