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Road safety summit calls for campaign to upgrade A1 to motorway

A ‘summit’ to promote road safety on the A1 through Lincolnshire and Rutland has been held.

Lincolnshire County Council last week brought together organisations including Rutland County Council, Lincolnshire Police, Highways England and other organisations where the case was made to upgrade the A-road to motorway status.

The meeting follows Highways England earlier this year completing a detailed study of safety on the A1, which it is now assessing before making recommendations for improvement.

A1 at Colsterworth
A1 at Colsterworth

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for Lincolnshire highways, says the A1 in the region has nearly 140 accidents a year with, on average, a part closure every week and a full closure every fortnight.

Lincolnshire Police also report they are dealing with over 60 incidents on the A1 every month which diverts valuable resources away from fighting crime.

Coun Davies (Con-Grantham West) said afterwards: “The A1 through Lincolnshire has to be one of the most dangerous spots in the country. In addition, when the road is closed or blocked, it can cause gridlock in the surrounding area.

“So, although it isn’t part of the council’s own road network, we’re pushing for improvements.

“Of course, in an ideal world, we would like to see the road upgraded to a motorway. However, that would cost billions and it will be a challenge to get the government to make that sort of investment.What’s needed is a co-ordinated campaign, with MPs, councils and others joining forces to make the case.”

Coun Davies said the Road Safety and Economic Growth Workshop was part of this campaign and the gathering was well attended. He was also hopeful the government could be convinced to come up with a plan to address safety issues, congestion and capacity.

He added: “It’s clear to both Rutland and Lincolnshire that we need urgent safety improvements along the A1 between Peterborough to Blyth, to reduce the growing number of accidents and delays which put drivers’ safety at risk and clog up local villages with huge amounts of diverted traffic.”

A1 stock photo
A1 stock photo

Rutland County Council deputy leader Gordon Brown said: “Working together and with other local authorities who are routinely affected, we feel it’s important to press Highways England, the Department for Transport and our local MPs to bring the A1 up to three-lane motorway standard between the M25 and the M62. This would ideally start with the stretch of road from Peterborough to Colsterworth at the earliest opportunity and complete the full 175 miles before 2050.”

Colsterworth parish and district councillor David Bellamy, who has previously branded the A1 a “killer highway” and “national disgrace” in previous efforts to have the A1 upgraded was also at the meeting.

Coun Bellamy (Con-Isaac Newton) said afterwards: “The sooner it happens the better. But in the meantime there will have to be contingency measures, such as closing central reservations.”

He added: “The conference was significant. It was a turning point.”

Read this viewpoint by councillor for Lincolnshire highways, Richard Davies

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