In our post about these roadworks and the disruption they caused, we predicted such simplistic arguments would emerge. What was also inevitable was that sooner or later, Mike Flynn of the Longdendale Siege Mentality would join in, and he didn't let us down with his comments in the Bypass cost increase article we initiated.
Today, we have written to the Chronicle responding to the pro-bypass opportunists, and the letter is reproduced below:
I note the conscious decision of various correspondents over the past 2 weeks - on and off your letters page - to link traffic problems caused by two Highways authorities to the alleged need for a bypass.
On the contrary, I would like to contend that the two are entirely separate matters.
In his comments on the increase in the bypass costs, Mr Mike Flynn of the Longdendale Siege Committee states that holdups will not occur with the bypass in place. Yet he would have us endure several months if not years of traffic disruption in order to ensure that it is built.
Furthermore, he assumes that the Inspector at the Public Inquiry will order that the Glossop Spur will be constructed alongside a bypass, an assumption which is ill-founded and far from certain. If the bypass is built without the Spur, traffic will still have to divert via Broadbottom or Tintwistle in the event of Woolley Lane being closed. Indeed, in the scenario that they wished to get onto the bypass from Tintwistle to go towards Manchester, they would have to queue at Townhead Farm along with traffic coming in the opposite direction, a situation surely worse than at present.
And of course Mr Flynn seems to be unable to envisage the traffic chaos that will be the result of any accident which closes the bypass.
Mr Flynn seems to contend that a lack of localised traffic planning means upwards of £315 million should be spent on a pseudo-motorway. Surely it would be far cheaper to employ someone who had an inkling about planning measures and traffic management. Looking at Derbyshire's website for instance would have alerted Tameside to the fact that the Shaw Lane works had been planned well ahead. Notices at the Flouch and beyond could have alerted motorists to avoid the A628 or expect delays etc. Similar notices could have been posted on the Tameside side. It's really not that difficult.
Or was the chaos meant to happen? Are the Highways authorities so stupid that they hadn't the foresight to do some of the basic ideas suggested above? Or is it one last desperate attempt from the promoters of this road amongst the two relevant authorities to put the traffic problems back on the Agenda big time, to act as a spur or a new impetus for the pro-bypass brigade as the Inquiry fragments and hopes fade? If the former then there should be some sackings. If the latter, it should be exposed. It's not an argument they can win.
At least one High Peak Borough Councillor - Anne Worrall - has publicly called for modern two-lane bridges to replace Besthill Bridge & Woolley Bridge - the latter currently has an abandoned, boarded-up, semi-refurbished building where a proper bridge and roundabout could be. Why isn't anyone calling for similar improvements to the existing highways that will cost a fraction of the bypass?
Living in the real world it seems that whilst all these authorities claim to be concerned for the valley's residents, when it comes down to it they do not care at all, as they have failed to try to minimise the impact - as was their duty. This has got nothing to do with a bypass, neither real nor - as is far more likely - imagined.