£3.4m plan to tackle jams in Sheffield city centre 'would only cut congestion for five years'

A £3.4 million plan to speed up traffic in Sheffield city centre would only reduce congestion for five years, it has been claimed.

Monday, 23rd October 2017, 5:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:53 am
Traffic on the Inner Ring Road at Corporation Street

Sheffield Council recently unveiled proposals for a raft of changes to the northern section of the Inner Ring Road, near the Wicker and Kelham Island.

It wants to increase the number of lanes and create new turnings, among other changes, between Corporation Street and Savile Street.

The council's plans to reduce congestion

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The council is currently consulting people about the scheme, which it claims would slash journey times and 'unlock' sites for development, and it has already applied for funding from Sheffield City Region.

But Cycle Sheffield says the work will make it harder and more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists to get about town, and questions whether it will achieve its other goals anyway.

It has criticised what it calls 'serious design flaws', including the use of painted bike lanes offering no protection to cyclists, and 'hazardous' plans for cyclists to share the pavement with pedestrians.

But perhaps the group's biggest complaint is that the costly scheme will, it says, only achieve the stated aim of reducing congestion for a few years before delays return to their current levels.

The council's plans to reduce congestion

"This section of the Inner Ring Road is less than 10 years old and already it is being widened. Sheffield Council’s traffic modelling for this scheme shows that within 5=five years the congestion in this area will return to the levels before the scheme was built. What then?" the group states in its consultation response.

"£3.4 million is an incredible amount of money to spend on ineffective short term changes to the road layout on a short stretch of the Inner Ring Road. This money could deliver significant improvements to other services, including enabling more active travel in Sheffield."

The Star has contacted the council for a response.

The council expects work on the scheme to begin next summer and be completed in spring 2019, subject to the outcome of its consultation and to funding being approved.

The consultation runs until November 1. You can have your say on the plans at www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/roads-pavements/road-improvement-requests.html.