DONCASTER motorists fear traffic jams for the next five months after plans for major roadworks were announced for one of the borough’s main gateway roads.
The second phase of the A630 Balby Road Improvement Scheme, between Larchfield Road and Greenfield Lane is to start during the first week in July, and is forecast to take about 20 weeks. The first phase was done in 2011.
It comes hot on the heels of work on another gateway route, White Rose Way, which is ongoing.
The works will include surfacing to the carriageway, footpaths and central reserves, upgrades to traffic signals, new kerbing, edgings and lighting, junction improvements, a number of bus priority measures at busy junctions and real time information at bus stops.
It is intended to help ease congestion along one of Doncaster’s busiest routes, reducing journey times for local residents and commuters into the town centre. The project will also see essential road maintenance and pedestrian safety work take place.
Andy Parnall, deputy chairman of the Doncaster Taxi Drivers Association, feared the scheme would cause major traffic delays on a road which carries traffic into Doncaster from the A1(M).
He said: “Balby Road is bad in the mornings as it is, and this is certainly not going to help. It is going to become a joke trying to get into town along there. There is nowhere else for anyone to go. They need to complete the road from Woodland Plantation to Balby Carr, then it would provide an alterative route for traffic coming in from Tickhill Road.
“As it is, this is going to mean a lot a street for motorists.”
Drivers in Doncaster town centre yesterday shared his concerns.
Alan Warren, aged 78, of Bessacarr, said: “It is going to be rough. The roads are already that busy, and there is not an alternatiev route. I think motorists are fet up with roadworks.
Simon Fennell, aged 28, of Balby, said: “There always seem to be roadworks along Balby Road, and it feels like a constant problem.”
Emma Foster, aged 31, from Woodlands, said it would affect her and may put her of coming into the town.
She said: “It is already difficult on Balby Road. To get into town from Woodlands I have to wither come across North Bridge or taken the A1(M) and come in through Balby. I fear where ever I go I will hit traffic jams. I would like to see some flyovers built.”
David Hall, aged 57, from Auckley said: “If it is essential work it has to be done. I hope it is short term pain for a long term gain. It could have a knock-on effect as people use rat runs to try to avoid Balby Road.”
Laura Haughey, of Balby, told the Star on Twitter: “I moved to Balby 18 months ago and they’ve only stopped roadworks at the top of my street for one week! Ridiculous.”
Mayor Peter Davies said he was a motorist as well as mayor and had sympathy with drivers.
He said: “I do take the point and would apologies to motorists for what they have to put up with.
“All of these road works are going to add to improvements to the town and the economy and help create jobs. In the long run they are for good of everyone. With Balby Road, I’m told this work will improve the situation in the long run.”
He said he was delighted funding had been secured improvements could be made on a key gateway into Doncaster.
David Young, Director of Customer Experience at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: “These improvements will help all road users whether they are bus passengers, car users or pedestrians. By cutting congestion we will be tackling pollution, which will improve the environment for everyone too.”
Peter Dale, Doncaster Council’s Director of Regeneration and Environment, said: “Once again we ask motorists and road users to show patience during the final phase of works along the A630 Balby Road as they will see real benefits in terms of reduced journey times and improved road safety once the scheme is finished.”
The scheme is being carried out by Doncaster Council, the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and the European Regional Development Fund, which is putting £943,280 into the project.