Letter: Time for tunnel to reduce road misery

This letter sent to the Star was written by Mike Dodgson, Marchwood, S6

Thursday, 8th August 2019, 9:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 7:03 am
MP Clive Betts. Picture: Chris Etchells

Why not kick-start the Northern Power House in the Longdendale Valley to end a national scandal and misery endured by both residents and travellers.

As MP Clive Betts rightly slams the road upgrade delay from the M67 (The Star, July 25), why not go the whole way to address the continual dereliction of commitment to improve traffic conditions on the A628 between two major cities, Sheffield and Manchester, districts that have a total population approaching that of London. The largely single-lane corridor from the A628/A57 near Hollingworth to Baird Hill near the Flouch roundabout, although modified, has been an ever-increasing shameful problem since National Rail closures (including the Woodhead Tunnel). Since which road traffic numbers have predictively increased and the size of vehicles, especially haulage vehicles, also. Mail orders are now adding to the densities of traffic.

My personal sympathies are for the village occupants at Tin Twistle which does not appear to be included in the current remit of Mr Betts' concerns. A once tranquil village like Tin Twistle may not only have lost its bank, post office or pub but the very clean air and peacefulness in an area of outstanding beauty, the Longdendale Valley. The main A628 corridor detrimentally splits the village in two to satisfy the ever-increasing number of passing travellers.

To give some scale to the entity, goods lorries cannot overtake cyclists if any traffic is coming the other way. Respectful cyclists will move off the road to prevent serious hold-ups and show gratitude to a driver who hadn't put their life at risk. Out cycling (from Glossop) last year, a life-long resident of Tin Twistle, now in her nineties, pored out her regrets and fears to me. She told me how the optimism in the village for a bypass was once again fading fast. Another historical hollow commitment during the lengthy period in which London spent £billions on HS, Jubilee Line, Crossrail projects as well as improving its road network.

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Just meeting Mr Betts' implied concerns to improve links near the M67 and at the other end of the corridor by modern technology aids from the Flouch would seriously increase the problems at Tin Twistle unless an agreed bypass was constructed first.

Ideally, a tunnel should be built from the Flouch as near as is possible to the M67 or a mixture of tunnels and open dual carriageways like on the continent where tunnels are commonplace, probably built with some help of UK cash.

Tunnels, although initially very expensive, in time become cost-effective enabling continuous safe high-speed traffic but immediately protecting homes, land, farmland, ancient and modern structures, forests and wildlife. Thus benefiting commerce, tourists, residents, nature and climate.

Continental type road toll charges, exempting all vehicles taxed in the UK, could be introduced. We could also share the next round (at least) of any available £billions with London and start to give true belief to the so-called Northern Power House.