Your ideas lead to plans to end Flintshire road chaos

Reporter:

Matt Jones

DECADES of crippling traffic chaos on Deeside could soon be a thing of the past.

Action to end long-running gridlock in Shotton, Queensferry and Connah’s Quay is being taken almost two years after the Leader launched a campaign asking for your solutions to the problem.

DECADES of crippling traffic chaos on Deeside could soon be a thing of the past signalling a victory for Leader readers.

Action to end long-running gridlock in Shotton, Queensferry and Connah’s Quay is being taken almost two years after we launched a campaign asking for your solutions to the problem.

Draft results from a study by traffic consultants Atkins have recommended two bus lay-bys and the synchronising of traffic signals in Shotton – the same suggestions submitted by our readers.

The announcement was made by Cllr Tony Sharps, executive member for environment, during a Flintshire Council executive committee meeting.

Pedestrian crossing and traffic lights will be set to a timer and change at the same time.

Cllr Sharps said: “The report recommends introducing two extra lay-bys for buses to pull in. Also we would have proper co-ordination with crossings to have them all
working together.

“There would be no buttons to press and they would all be set to a timer. If one goes they all go.”

Cllr Sharps said work would start on the project without further need for approval from the executive committee.

He said: “We just cannot allow it to continue. It is a hell-hole at the moment. We have no extra space so we have to make use of what is available.”

Residents have been campaigning for years over tailbacks on Chester Road between Connah’s Quay, Shotton and Queensferry.

The study was commissioned by Flintshire Council to put an end to the long-running traffic problems.

A second far-reaching traffic survey, which includes Aston Hill, is still ongoing.
Shotton councillor Doreen Mackie said: “I think anything that will help the traffic move through smoothly will be a good thing.

“It has been a problem for years, going back over 20 or 30 years and it has been getting worse. This is good news. I think it will give relief to people who have to use the road on a daily basis.”

Cllr Ann Minshull, chair of Shotton Town Council, said: “It is gridlock down here. This is excellent news. The crossings do need to be co-ordinated because we have so many of them and the lay-bys should help the flow of traffic.

“The traffic congestion is a blight on the lives of people who have to sit in it every day. This is what residents and elected members have been asking for.

“Since I was elected as county councillor for the Shotton West ward in 2004 I have been campaigning tirelessly for having the busses put in the lay-bys.”

Connah’s Quay councillor Bernie Attridge said he was “gobsmacked” the study has made the same recommendations already proposed by community leaders and residents.

He said: “This has been a total waste of public money. These are ideas elected members from Shotton have come up with. We have had joint meetings with Shotton Town Council and Connah’s Quay Town Council and this is what was said by people living on the patch. This is what people have been saying for six or seven years.”

Cllr Attridge says he has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to Flintshire Council to find out how much the study cost.


The Campaign

IN November 2009 the Leader launched a campaign to end the traffic problems on Deeside.

We were inundated with responses from readers and passed their suggestions on to Flintshire Council.

Here are some of them:

l A radical proposal to reopen Mold Railway Station was suggested by Sam
Davidson who said it could give some motorists the option to switch to travelling by rail.

l Shotton Councillor Elwyn Jones even suggested building a tunnel under the town.

l Many residents suggested reintroducing bus lay-bys, synchronising the traffic lights and scrapping some of the pedestrian crossings.

The Council

Neal Cockerton, head of transportation and assets said: “We are aware of the congestion in Shotton and commissioned consultants to explore the possibilities available to improve traffic flows along the B5129.

“The report recommends two main areas of activity:

“1. Alter the timings of the pedestrian crossings, so there is a longer gap between them stopping traffic. Naturally, this will need careful management, as we want to retain their effectiveness for people to cross the road safely. Nevertheless, we think this can be done to the benefit of all the people wanting to use that stretch of road, both motorists and pedestrians.

“2. Introduce ‘half-bus’ lay-bys that facilitate buses to partially pull off the carriageway, allowing traffic to continue flowing past them whilst they're stationary.

This has been discussed and agreed in principle by Arriva, as the major bus operator in Flintshire. We can now move forward to explore where the lay-bys could be located on the carriageway; this will require further discussions with Arriva, who need to be supportive of their location and also consideration of the position of existing utility services beneath them.”
 

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