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To Dual or not to Dual!

November 30, 2016 3:25 PM
By Cllr John Marriott - Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham

John MarriottWell at last the Eastern Bypass is to go ahead now that the government has agreed to contribute its share to the project.

However, some people still aren't happy. I'm not referring to the residents of Cherry Willingham but rather to those motorists who are still yearning for the new road to be a dual carriageway. If we lived in an ideal world I would tend to agree; but we don't, unfortunately.

The decision to insist on a single carriageway rests with the recent coalition government. In their view, a road to the east of Lincoln was not a strategic thoroughfare like its western cousin and so they weren't prepared to find the extra cash to make it a dual carriageway, when other projects were out there with the begging bowl. It was, and still is, in my opinion, a commuter route and therefore could justify being a single carriageway, given especially that cash still remains tight at the moment (and looks like remaining so for some time to come).

If there is any spare cash, it should be spent on dualling those parts of the A46 Western Bypass that are still stubbornly single. In addition, if the Central Lincs Local Plan gets the green light next year, a start could be made, with the help of private finance, on the much needed Southern Bypass - single carriageway again; but better than no bypass at all.

Readers may not be aware that, as far as the Western bypass is concerned, only the stretch from South Hykeham to the A15 was financed by the then Ministry of Transport back in the 1980s and any alterations here still need to come from what is now Highways England. It was the single carriageway stretch from the A15 to the A158 that was financed at the time by the County Council, so, as far as I know, they could start here without requiring permission from on high.

The A46 Western Bypass fulfils the dual role of being a commuter route for Greater Lincoln and a strategic road enabling traffic to access the Humber ports from the East Midlands corridor and vice versa. If devolution ever does take place in Greater Lincolnshire, these ports, and the industries around them, will assume an even greater importance and need to be serviced properly. IF the Western Bypass could be completely dualled along with the A15 north of Lincoln we might be on the way to a proper 21st century network around here, which is long overdue if we are to compete effectively with other parts of the country in the post Brexit age which is about to dawn.

John Marriott is Lincolnshire County Councillor for the Hykeham Forum Division