How much does a major redevelopment of an existing roundabout cost? And how long will it take? Read on for answers. The roundabout in question, in this question anyway, is at Chowns Mill where the A6 crosses the A45 (and there is a fifth road which is the road into Higham Ferrers which is the old A6 before the Higham Ferrers/Rushden bypass was built).
I’ve been into London twice this week, and am heading that way again on Monday. To get to Wellingborough railway station there are essentially four routes that I can take to cover the 9.4 mile journey. The trouble is, and has been for a while, that I have to get to the other side of the railway line to catch a train. Why is that a problem? Because the railway line is being electrified and that requires putting in infrastructure along the railway line. And why is that a problem? Because when the railway was built nobody, understandably, built the road bridges with the thought that in a hundred years’ time or so there might have to be some more kit fitted into the system. So road bridges are being raised and adjusted, and some structural faults have, I gather, been found with some of the bridges. All this requires engineering work which leads to bridge closure, demolition in one case and single-line traffic on busy dual carriageways with speed restrictions thrown in too. So those 9.4 miles which might reasonably be expected to take 15-20 minutes can, sometimes, but unpredictably, take 40 minutes or sometimes more (but often less).
I’ve only missed one (already paid for and non-refundable) train over the last year or so because of this but it has increased my journey times, fuel costs, stress levels and temporary irritation. However, this is all an unavoidable consequence of an old infrastructure of roads and railways that weren’t built for today’s traffic levels or vehicle sizes. It has to be fixed and we current residents of the area have to put up with the inconvenience and hope that we shall share the benefits later on.
A new shopping complext at Rushden Lakes, with a narrow entrance and exit has added another twist to the traffic jams, and the building of an exit from that shopping complex has closed another road which might have alleviated the railbridge-related traffic slowness too. Again, it is to be hoped that this extra short road will make things better in the ‘end’ but it has short-term costs to the traveller.
On top of this, there is the planned redevelopment of the Chowns Mill roundabout which is starting soon. So how much does a roundabout redevelopment cost? Obviously it depends what you are doing but this one is going to cost £21m and take 22 months.
You can imagine how greatly I am looking forward to the 22 months of work (22 months!). I feel lucky to be alive at this time when my 9.4 mile fairly regular journey to the local railway station has had work on its bridge over the railway and single file traffic at reduced speeds, a new shopping centre and a roundabout development included in the journey.
There are houses going up everywhere which will probably mean more cars on the same roads.
One ray of hope, the BTO might call it a brave new world, I’ll call it a faint glimmer, is that there may be new access to the station from the east which might reduce my journey to 6 miles, but I wonder whether that will result in a quicker journey – I’ll be interested to see.
These are basically improvements, so I regard the inconvenience as just one of those things, although I regard it less so in that way when I am stuck in a traffic jam with a train to catch than I do now sitting at a keyboard going nowhere.
But a remarkable thing happened at Wellingborough Station on one morning this week. It wasn’t the sighting of the vicar of Finedon, the former Communard Rev Richard Coles, who is a frequent spot at the station, but two much rarer, at the time unprecedented avian records.
Well, when I say unprecedented, I mean, of course, unprecedented for me from the platforms of Wellingborough Station. And they were both white and in flight, and in view simultaneously; Mute Swan and Little Egret. The excitment of the occasional trip to London, eh?