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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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An opportunity missed to solve traffic glitch

TOWARDS the middle of this month the barriers will be pulled away and, not with a bang but with a whimper, the new dual carriageway on the A595 between Low Moresby lane end at Howgate and the Toll Bar at Lillyhall will be opened to traffic.

Copeland will no longer be the only local authority area in England with no dual carriageway.

The opening of this road is to be welcomed and will result in a quicker journey times and safer travel. It will mean villages such as Lowca, Pica and Moresby Parks should no longer be subject to vehicles using the roads through these settlements to avoid build ups and slow moving traffic on the A595 around Distington.

But and regrettably it is a big ‘But’, the southern roundabout has been sited some 150 metres to the north of the junctions of Church Brow leading to Lowca, Rectory Brow the road coming down from the Golf course and past Rosehill, and Brewery Brow the first road from Parton village. Motorists leaving these side roads will continue to seek gaps between traffic on the trunk road either coming from Whitehaven or up from the new roundabout to turn right with the resultant risk that entails.

The traffic coming down Rectory Brow is especially heavy at certain times of the day. It is used by school buses. It is used by heavy vehicles. It is the main thoroughfare for traffic coming from the Cleator Moor area and for many who are returning from the hospital. Brewery Brow is one of the two exits from Parton village which are not dangerous. It is accepted that leaving by way of Parton Brow the junction at the south of the village is not entirely safe and certainly is not used by the bus operators. The inspector at the public enquiry suggested that traffic leaving Church Brow from Lowca may benefit from the roundabout but only if they turn left, travel away from their destination, and use the roundabout rather than crossing traffic flows.

All these problems could have been resolved by extending the new road to meet and encompass these junctions and had there been the will from the two principal authorities, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council, rather than supporting the Highways Agency proposal they ought to have opposed them. The three parish councils of Lowca, Moresby and Parton did just that but, without the weight that could have been added by these two authorities, were not able persuade the inspector. There is every reason to believe that had the two authorities supported the arguments put forward by the parish councils the Highways Agency would have produced an amended scheme. Their agents did some work to show that an extension was feasible but the local authorities did not press the matter with sufficient rigour .

So when users of the new dual carriageway wonder why the roundabout finishes short of the three busy junctions discussed here they should remember that local concerns and arguments were ignored.

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