Sheffield speed limit plan shelved

Traffic queueing on Penistone Road in Sheffield
Traffic queueing on Penistone Road in Sheffield
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Plans to increase speeds on a section of one of Sheffield’s busiest roads have been shelved – as it would save just seconds.

Raising the limit from 30mph to 40mph on Penistone Road, between Infirmary Road to Capel Street, was agreed in principle as part of a £5 million scheme to ease congestion.

However, cyclists’ concerns about the impact on air quality and safety were raised at a highways meeting in April and Sheffield Council officers agreed to look again into the benefits of changing the limit before proceeding with the scheme.

Now they have found only 20 to 30 seconds would be saved on journeys by the increase – and new regulations about the number of electrical connections needed in traffic signals would also increase the scheme’s cost by about £500,000.

The road is used by about 60,000 people every day and is thought to be the city’s second busiest highway.

The rest of the scheme – which includes a new bus lane, converting the Leppings Lane roundabout to traffic signals, widening the carriageway and prohibiting right turns to create more green signal time – will still go ahead.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for transport, had agreed for officers to have another look at the idea to see if it was ‘worth it’.

He said: “We have examined this and at a time when there is no traffic on the road there would be an improvement of 20 to 30 seconds.

“It’s so minute that we wondered if it was worth it given the cost of doing it – it would be different if it was a minute or two minutes that changed.

“We have decided that the scheme is probably not worth it, because the cost is not justified.”

Work has already begun on converting the roundabout, part of construction on a new Sainsbury’s supermarket and other improvements to Penistone Road.

The council was awarded £3m towards the project from the Government’s Local Pinch Point Fund and another £1.24m comes from a bus initiative.