Snippets of info are starting to emerge about Tameside MBC's plans for a bypass on the cheap.
Last week saw a press release about the possible scheme being published in Local Transport Today (our screen grab of the article can be viewed here). More information is amongst the agenda items for TMBC's Executive 'Cabinet' that met on 1st April (seriously!), and these can be read here (opens PDF). Regarding the bypass, this is all the info we get:
A bypass of Mottram passing to the north of the village crossing and linking to Roe Cross Road and Mottram Moor and from there along the line of the Glossop Spur to Woolly Bridge (sic)
So our prediction in a previous blog post about likely routes appears to be wrong. Instead, the route under consideration appears to be akin to the 'Grey Route', which was put forward for public consultation back in 1993, alongside the Brown Route which ended up in the shit as it were. We'd like to remind everyone why the Grey Route was rejected at that time (from the Highways Agency's history of the scheme published on the Public Inquiry website - opens PDF):
(The Grey Route) had an adverse impact on the built environment, cultural heritage, townscape and construction because it traversed most of the 'difficult' areas of poor ground conditions
Whilst not mentioning where the road will go after reaching Woolley Bridge, the maps showing all the historical routes makes clear the plan will be to forge through what is now Rossington Park en route towards Tintwistle. The plan seems to be to capitalise on opposition to Rossington Park, but how Tameside MBC, or High Peak BC for that matter, will justify subjecting the Nothern portion of Hadfield to a proto-motorway is another matter. Rossington Park is by no means a success, and there's nothing to say it will be there in years to come, unlike any new road that is constructed.
But the second part of Tameside's plans are the most interesting:
- A package of sustainable travel initiatives linked to the existing School Travel Plans.
- A package of public transport (bus) improvements on the bypassed/relieved roads
- Cycling and pedestrian improvements on the bypassed/relieved roads.
- A package of traffic calming/road safety and environmental street improvements on the bypassed/relieved roads,
- Selected rail station improvements
- A lorry ban for through traffic on the A628/A616 (Woodhead Pass) and the A57 (Snake Pass) which would probably require the de-trunking of the A628/A616. Possible extension of the lorry ban to the other trans-Pennine routes passing through the Peak District National Park.
- The re-opening of the Woodhead rail route for trans-Pennine freight and passenger traffic
What looks like a sweetener for a road project, may be just that. But anti-bypass activists must ignore this at their peril - it's an attempt to 'divide and rule'. By stealing the positive agenda of more than one local campaign, plus making overtures to the disaffected Peak District National Park Authority, Tameside MBC hope that everyone will forget the plan is still to build another road. And one that follows the route of the likely Eastwards extension of the M67 30-odd years ago.
Of course, there's still the issue of how this will be paid for, and this is also covered in the same minutes. But that's for another time...