North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet has today (31 January) agreed to progress plans to replace the Toll Bar roundabout on the A16 with a traffic light controlled junction.
The decision to upgrade the junction was put on hold in November to give a working group time to review the plans, consider views from the local community and report back to cabinet by 31 January 2018.
The move followed a series of meetings, information events and letter drops held about the proposed works, which led to a number of suggestions from the local community and businesses.
The working group included cabinet members and officers from North East Lincolnshire Council, members from Waltham and New Waltham parish councils, the chair of the Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, and ENGIE, the Council’s regeneration partner.
They met on 15 and 16 January to review and discuss six options for the layout of the junction, these were:
- Do nothing
- Retain roundabout and provide a new pedestrian crossing on the A16
- Upgrade/add traffic lights to the existing roundabout junction
- Upgrade/enlarge the roundabout with full-time traffic lights
- Upgrade/enlarge the roundabout with peak-time traffic lights
- Replace the roundabout with a traffic light controlled crossroads junction.
An independent assessment of the proposals was provided by specialist transport consultancy WSP for consideration by the group.
Of the six options presented to the group, only replacing the roundabout with a traffic light controlled crossroads junction can deliver the road safety improvements and increase capacity within the available budget and within the time constraints required by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP who are funding the majority of the work.
Cllr David Watson, portfolio holder for energy and environment at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:
“As councillors we sometimes have to make difficult decisions. And there are few decision this council has made in recent times that have stirred as many well-informed concerns as the plans for the Toll Bar junction.
“As portfolio holder I asked for the project to be put on hold so I and colleagues could take the time to step back and listen afresh to the arguments both for and against replacing the roundabout with traffic lights.
“My chief concern has always been the safety of pedestrians and other road users and the ability of the junction to cope with more traffic as our economy grows.
“Doing nothing isn’t an option, the junction as it stands isn’t up to the job. If we delay the project further we risk losing the grant funding.
“In my role I must listen to the expert analysis based on adopted highways guidance and standards. If I ignore that advice, it could leave the Council open to a legal challenge.
“The advice for the best option in terms of the cost, improving road safety, relieving congestion and increasing capacity is the introduction of traffic lights.
“I listened to the views of the parish councils and the Tollbar Academy, but I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument – backed by hard evidence – for a realistic alternative.
“It’s clear this junction means a lot to people and I’ve been impressed by the strength of the arguments put forward by all sides.
“We’ve followed a fair process in reaching this decision and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to look again at the proposal and put forward their views.”
The scheme, which was given approval by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet in January 2017, will improve safety by providing crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce both journey times and traffic queues at the Toll Bar Junction. It will cost £2.1m to complete.
More details about the works, such as the start date and a schedule, will be made available at a later date.