Councils at loggerheads over ring-road congestion proposals

Simon Bristow

PLANS to ease Hull’s long-running traffic problems by diverting vehicles out of the city look set to stall after East Riding Council blocked proposals for part of a new ring road.

Hull Council had hoped to reduce congestion and address road safety issues by moving part of its existing ring road into the East Riding, via the A15, the A164, the A1033 and the A1079 – the main Hull to York road – which is one of the most dangerous in the country.

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But after considering a request by Hull Council’s cabinet to take over part of the proposed new route, officials in the East Riding said they opposed the move as the A164 and A1079 corridors already suffer “severe” congestion.

The East Riding is pursuing its own measures to tackle traffic flow and volume, and has had plans for a major congestion-busting road improvement scheme along the A164 corridor endorsed by the Regional Transport Board, although it is yet to seek approval and funding from the Department for Transport.

This would see alterations to the five roundabouts and dual carriageways between Cottingham and Willerby.

The East Riding said in its response: “..even if the Council is successful in obtaining the necessary funding, the scheme will only partially address the severe congestion issues along the busiest corridor in the East Riding, carrying over 35,000 vehicles a day.”

The authority pointed out that a campaign group had been set up to call for improvements on the A1079, and that concerns about the route had been raised in parliamentary debates in 2006 and 2008.

It added: “For these reasons the East Riding of Yorkshire Council would oppose any suggestion of re-routing traffic currently travelling into Hull via the M62-A63 trunk road, with a destination in north or north-east Hull, to use an alternative route through the East Riding via the A164 and A1079 corridors.”

The existing Hull “ring road” is not a purpose-built route around the city but a series of separate roads designated as such by the local authority.

It begins at Brighton Street at the end of Hessle Road in West Hull and heads north towards Greenwood Avenue before turning east through Sutton Road and Ings Road, eventually disgorging traffic east of the city near Marfleet Avenue.

Last year, Hull Council’s environment and transport overview and scrutiny commission described the route as “no longer fit for purpose” following complaints by nearby residents about its effect on properties and road safety.

In a snapshot 12-hour survey of the route between 7am and 7pm, not a single heavy goods vehicle travelled the full length of the route, and only a “very small” number of cars did so.

The survey also found that most vehicles used part of the route in cross-city journeys.

A report by Trish Dalby, head of streetscene services at Hull Council, said this showed the route served a “valuable function” in distributing traffic.

Concluding her report, which will be considered by Hull’s cabinet next Monday, Ms Dalby said the authority had no option but to retain the current route.

Her report said: “The majority of the suggested re-route of the city’s ring road is on the East Riding of Yorkshire’s highway network and without their support it would be difficult to persuade the Highways Agency to change directional signs from the A63 and A15.

“East Riding would also refuse to place ‘ring road’ directional signs on their network. The only option therefore is to confirm the existing ring road route within the city.”