£20k for controversial ring road changes
The figure has been revealed through a Freedom of Information request to Staffordshire County Council.
The trial arrangements have come in for some heavy criticism, with pedestrian safety and lots of other concerns raised on this site and in the letters pages of the local newspapers.
The county council says the new lane flow – introduced in February - is designed to reduce congestion and delays at peak times. It certainly created congestion and delays for motorists leaving Morrisons, so the pedestrian crossing was moved up Christchurch Way to its former location. This then created the need for a crossing on Mill Street itself.
Here are the questions asked through the Freedom of Information request and the county’s answers…
What was the reason for for the experiment of extending the traffic island at the junction of Lichfield Street / Christchurch Way?
Traffic counts illustrated an imbalance in lane usage along Christchurch Way. This was further confirmed from the receipt of numerous complaints of delays and congestion at this location.
The majority of traffic was using the left hand lane and only a small amount of traffic using the right hand lane.
Observation surveys at the time confirmed that traffic was queuing along Christchurch Way back onto A520 to its junction with Northesk Street and around town centre ring road into Crown Street.
By encouraging greater use of the right hand lane this could lead to reduced traffic congestion and delays.
What design studies have been carried out?
The following investigations have been carried out:
Do nothing – No Change
Left lane (Lichfield Street Only)
Right lane (A520 and A34)
With this option more traffic would be transferred to the right hand lane but public transport using the existing lay by would benefit, by being able to merge into carriageway easier.
However this could lead to poor lane discipline with traffic still using the left hand lane.
Extending the refuge would reduce the poor lane discipline, with traffic merging into appropriate lanes along Christchurch Way and ensuring that both lanes are fully optimized so increasing the flow of traffic in and around the ring road.
Both Lanes A34 straight on
Left lane (Lichfield Street Only)
Right lane (A520)
Signage and lining could be provided to encourage drivers to use both lanes and merge into the right and left lane as required.
This option could improve lane usage and traffic flows, however in reality it would be open to abuse and possibly not improve the situation.
After consideration of Options 1-3, SCC selected Option 2 to be installed on a trial basis for approximately six months.
What consultation with interested parties has been carried out?
Due to the proposals being installed on a trial basis, there was no specific consultation carried out as data and comments would be collected through the trial period.
However the trial proposals were discussed with the County Council’s elected member and Stone Town Council.
Prior to the introduction of the trial scheme, all affected frontages i.e. Morrison’s, properties along Mill Street and High Street, Staffordshire Police and local bus companies were advised of the works.
Following introduction of the trial proposals, correspondence from Local Bus Operators, members of the Public, Morrison’s, Stone Town Council and local councillors has been collected and will be reviewed as part of the decision process.
What was the approximate cost of the trial works?
The approximate cost of build out and signing / lining works was £ 17,000
Was a road safety audit carried out before the pedestrian crossing was moved?
A road safety audit was not carried out prior to moving the pedestrian crossing due to the fact that it was being re-sited to its original position.
As part of the trial, a Stage 1 safety audit has been undertaken.
What is the approximate cost of the experimental crossing?
The approximate cost of experimental crossing is £3000
You can let the county council have your views on the trial arrangements