Monday, December 18, 2006

T Minus 41

Great news from the Department for Transport today when it was confirmed we had finally got the green light for the Eastern Transport Corridor.

There were times when I thought the road would never be built. Two years ago, almost to the day, we were told that our funding for the road had been lost. At the time we were in the midst of a protracted legal battle with one of the landowners of property which the road was due to cross who claimed he had planning permission to build a retail park on his site. The conflict cost us precious months. Infuriatingly, two days after the announcement was made that the money had been lost, we comprehensively won our case in the High Court.

The last two years have been spent pursuing the financing via regional funding. Town Hall officers have worked long, long hours as we built our bid, and sorted out the land purchases and complex traffic orders. Our local MP Alan Milburn played a key role too, lobbying for the road.

The start date for work - January 28 2007. Completion will be in 2009.

8 comments:

Mark Burton said...

Great News for Darlington... A Town WELL on the move!

Anonymous said...

Nick

The new road is obviously needed judging by the gridlock along Stockton Road and Haughton Green going into town at 8 a.m. and at 4 to 6 p.m. on a weekday.

However, how are you going to encourage people to use the new road?

The car drivers from Middleton St. George may not want to turn right at the Morton Park roundabout on the A66 and then travel along the A66 and then turn left into the new road when they can go straight ahead at the same roundabout into Marton Park and Yarm Road.

Similarly, will the car and lorry drivers from Teesside using the A66 want to turn left onto the Bypass and then turn right into the new road when they can can easily go straight on at the Great Burdon rooundabout and then left at the Stockton Road roundabout into town.

Also what will both sets of road users find when the road runs out at Albert Hill? I always thought that the road was part of the cross town route to Faverdale. What happened to that?

Finally, what are you going to do to reassure cyclists using the Bypass and the new road that it is safe for them to use during peak periods? It is extremely hazardous because of the narrowness of both carriageways at peak periods.

Best wishes for the festive season.

Yours

Alan

Rotten set of results from Australia.

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks for your comments Mark and Alan.

Traffic modelling suggests that the ETC will have a significant impact on congestion on the eastern side of town. It was omn this basis that we were able to secure the funding.

Alan asks how we can guarantee that vehicles currently on the A67 or coming from Teesside will use the new road? Well, the fact that the ETC will offer a quick jorney close to the heart of the town means that it will be the preferred choice for many drivers, particularly those coming from the A66. It will also offer easy access into Lingfield Point and businesses on MacMullen Road without the need for that traffic to use Haughton Road and Yarm Road at all.

When the road hits Haughton Road, that is the end of the ETC. You're right Alan that in the 1970's plans, the road carried on, as the Cross Town Route, across Albert Hill past the £5 note bridge and to the south of B&Q on North Road and then onto Faverdale.

By 2009, we will have completed the tow "outer arms" of the old Cross Town Route. The middle section is far more difficult, however, both in terms of cost but also the environmental impact it would have. As you will have gathered, it has been a major exercise securing the £12 million for the ETC. Frankly, given modern standards, I doubt whether the middle section of the old CTR will ever be built. Had we included it as part of our bid in our Local Transport Plan, we would not have secured the necessary funding, and the ETC would have been in doubt. I believe we have been correct to concentrate on bidding for that part of the road which was feasible.

Finally, cyclists using the bypass will have a dedicated off-road route that will run parallel to the ETC, following the line of the historic Stockton to Darlington railway. There will be a new bridge for cyclists, pedestrians and horses (yes!) over the A66 where currently people have to take their lives into their hands when crossing the dual carriageway. It will thus be possible to walk or cycle safely from Middleton St George to the centre of town, mostly off-road. It is intended that we will then be linked into Sustrans' National Cycle Network, although this will require some further work by Stockton Borough Council.

Darlington Councillor said...

...oh and yes - the cricket is lousy. It's a bit like the bad old days in the 80's when the West Indies rolled us over. Thank God I didn't invest in Sky!

My only entertainment has been watching Geoff Boycott on the BBC hhighlights sporting a diverse set of hats signed by himself - the man's ego knows no bounds. I love it when Geoff talks in the present tense about being a batsman - as if it's only a matter of time before the selectors see sense and he gets the call to open once again.

Anyway - a very happy Christmas to you and your family.

Best wishes,

Nick.

Mike said...

Will the dedicated off-road route that will run parallel to the ETC have priority at side roads, or will cyclists be required to give way at every junction, as is the case on the existing cycle lane which runs parallel to McMullen road?

Darlington Councillor said...

The major road that the ETC crosses is MacMullen Road, and here it's inevitable that cyclists will have to use the lights to get across. As far as I'm aware, the other side-roads are on the southern side of the road, and so the cycle route is unaffected, but I'll check this out and get back if I'm wrong.

Mike said...

Ah, that would make sense.

Steve said...

I've been digging about a bit & I'va managed to unearth a map of the route (page 3 of http://www.darlington.gov.uk/dar_public/documents/Development%20and%20Environment/Development%20and%20Regeneration/Transport%20Policy/LTPchapters/Annex%204%20-%20Darlington%20eastern%20transport%20corridor.pdf) . It looks like the ETC will cross McMullen Road then reach Haughton Road by the new college, guess thats why the college has such a large junction.