In Hawkedon the roads are often gridlocked at rush hour. With the development of Winnersh and Shinfield, along with making the M4 a smart Motorway, this is only going to get worse. Are there any developmental plans to help this situation, in both the short and long term?
In Hawkedon the roads are often gridlocked at rush hour. With the development of Winnersh and Shinfield, along with making the M4 a Smart Motorway, this is only going to get worse. Are there any developmental plans to help this situation, in both the short and long term?
The Smart Motorway on theM4 will add 1,800 car movements an hour when it is completed. This will remove congestion but, I am afraid, only in 2022. However, in theory, because there will continue to be three lanes each way, the current capacity of the M4 will be maintained during the construction process for the Smart Motorway. The other issue you allude to is traffic growth arising from new housing and general growth. However, when the Core Strategy was adopted in 2010 the proposed developments, which you referred to, were designed to mitigate their own impacts including developments at Winnersh and Shinfield. The Council is in the process of delivering a programme of £124 million in major road infrastructure which includes the Winnersh Relief Road (Phases 1 and 2), the Eastern Relief Road in Shinfield, the Arborfield Relief Road and the Northern and Southern Distributor Roads which do not contribute much in your area, or mine, but for other Members here are very relevant. This infrastructure is being delivered to support this housing and the highway network but the full benefits of this, unfortunately, will not be realised until everything is completed which will be a few years hence.
The Council recognises that building capability of roads is not a long term sustainable option and that the promotion of alternatives to the private car will reduce the pressure on the network. Therefore, through each new development, we are promoting the sustainable ‘My Journey’ initiative and delivering sustainable transport infrastructure.
The Smart Motorways that Highways England are delivering are designed to provide additional capacity and improve journey times on the Major Route Network that runs through Wokingham Borough.
Prior to the Core Strategy, a higher level of houses were being delivered through a piecemeal approach with no supporting infrastructure to assist with growth of congestion. The Strategic Development Locations are enabling improvements within development areas and on the surrounding highway network which is a significant improvement.
I asked you particularly about what events could happen around Earley and Lower Earley and, certainly, the new traffic lights, just down from Winnersh have worsened rather than improved the situation. What is the Council going to do about the fact that people are sitting there for hours, certainly half an hour, as it is getting ridiculous.
I am well aware of the struggles with the road network, particularly at peak times. As you are aware, the dualing of Lower Earley Way, between those lights you refer to and the roundabout, is planned to commence shortly. Once that has been completed I think that it will improve things a little. However, I think that, generally speaking, we need to let the Winnersh Relief Road Phase 1 bed in and we need to get the Winnersh Relief Road Phase 2 constructed. Then, I think, some of the issues you are currently experiencing will improve.