Highways cuts behind 'daily traffic chaos' - The Worcester Observer

Highways cuts behind 'daily traffic chaos'

Worcester Editorial 6th Jan, 2016 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

A ST JOHN’s county councillor has blamed the Conservative administration at County Hall for the ‘mounting traffic chaos’ in the city each day.

Coun Richard Udall slammed transport chiefs at Worcestershire County Council for cuts to the highways budget which he claims has left a lack of investment in strategic highway infrastructure.

He also claimed cuts to public transport and the closure of the park and ride sites had simply added more traffic to Worcester roads.

“Highways cuts have caused this mess and their continued plans for lack of investment will only make the situation worse,” he said.

“St John’s is now almost cut off from the rest of city at peak traffic time.

“Cars, lorries and vans travel at snail’s pace, gridlock is now damaging the local economy.

“Local business are telling me that employees are late for work and goods and services struggle to get in and out of St John’s.

“They have told me they are looking to relocate away from St John’s simply to get away from the gridlock, we will be losing jobs and resources and it needs urgent and decisive action from the council to put this right,” he added.

Coun Udall claimed highways chiefs were ‘obsessed’ with the Southern Link Road but it’s introduction has only tackled part of the problem.

“We need to complete the orbital road and construct a new crossing across the river to the north of the city, we need to take through traffic out of Worcester and we need to re-invest in and re-open park and ride schemes,” he said.

“The Conservatives have failed Worcester and are failing St John’s, their ineptitude is closing St John’s for business.

“We need an urgent change of direction and investment to address these issues, their austerity budgets are killing small business and destroying jobs, they need to stop, think and act before it’s too late.”

But County Council chiefs rejected Coun Udall’s claims and said measures like the duelling of the Southern Link Road have eased congestion.

A spokesman said: “Worcestershire’s Strategic Economic Plan, supported by the county council, the local Enterprise Partnership, all of Worcestershire’s MPs, our district and city council partners, has identified dualling the Southern Link Road as one of the top transport priorities for Worcester together with improvements to key transport corridors through the city.

“More than 30,000 vehicles use the Southern Link Road, constructed in the 1980s, each weekday and we have already completed phase one at Whittington island, phase two at the Ketch roundabout and are currently working on phase three at Norton roundabout.

“All of our partners also support our business case for funding for phase four, a £70 million proposed dualling of Carrington Bridge, which has recently been submitted to the Government,” he added.

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