Members received details reported by the Traffic and Transportation Manager concerning the following highways improvement projects within the Rotherham Borough area:-
(1) A630 Centenary Way, Rotherham (adjacent Tesco supermarket) – the staging of the traffic signal controls will be reviewed and, if necessary, amended, so as to improve and assist bus and pedestrian movements in this locality. Sometimes, vehicles queuing at Drummond Street obstruct the buses which are leaving the transport interchange.
(2) A633 Rotherham Road, Parkgate and Dearne corridor - a new Toucan Crossing has been installed near to the Retail World complex at Parkgate, enabling pedestrians to cross the whole width of the highway at once, instead of having to halt in the central refuge.
(3) Taylor’s Lane, Parkgate – a new Toucan crossing is being installed in this location for the benefit of pedestrians crossing the highway.
(4) Parkgate centre (A633 Broad Street) – an investigation is taking place in respect of a possible scheme to link the series of traffic control signals together, to try and ensure better traffic flows through Parkgate.
(5) A630 Rotherway and West Bawtry Road roundabout (near to Holiday Inn premises) – recent highway improvements, completed in December 2014, have served to reduce the traffic delays in the Canklow area.
(6) Whiston crossroads, A631 East Bawtry Road and A618 Moorgate Road – Members noted that, although long queues of vehicles do build up, they tend to discharge quite quickly when the traffic signals change; the pattern of staging of the traffic signals will be altered to improve the right turn manoeuvre from East Bawtry Road onto Moorgate Road; the Council is awaiting delivery of the specific equipment required (a ‘mast arm’). In the section of the A631 from the Rotherway roundabout to the Whiston crossroads, a “freer flowing left turn green light” will be installed, together with ‘Give Way’ road markings and traffic signs. This facility will also serve to improve traffic flows. Members discussed issues relating to the queuing of traffic at this very busy road junction.
(7) ‘Smart’ Motorways project (M1 Junction 32 (M18 intersection) to J35A) – the project works are due to begin after Easter, in April 2015. Three lanes of the M1 motorway will be open for vehicles, with a 50 mph speed limit imposed during the construction works. The coalition Government’s Transport Ministers have assured that there will be a minimum length of ten kilometres of ‘free running’ for motorway traffic, between the various sections of works in the motorway.
(8) A630 Sheffield Parkway – the Council is preparing a major scheme proposal which may in the future be funded from the Growth Fund, the Government’s allocations to the Sheffield City Region. This highway improvement will reduce traffic congestion on the A630 Sheffield Parkway (near to Catcliffe) by widening the highway to three lanes. A feasibility study will initially be undertaken, as the future development of areas such as Waverley will inevitably lead to an increase in volumes of vehicular traffic.
Members asked the following questions:-
(i) A630 Rotherham Road, Parkgate, is there sufficient carriageway width to accommodate a dedicated bus lane ? Members were informed that, in the past, funding from a local developer may have paid a proportion of the cost of installing a bus lane inbound towards the Rotherham town centre. It would be necessary to construct a bridge over a culvert and the costs of such work have increased considerably. The currently proposed scheme will facilitate some minor widening of the carriageway around existing bus stops, allowing vehicular traffic to pass the bus which is collecting and/or leaving passengers. However, funding has not yet been confirmed for such works.
(ii) Taylor’s Lane roundabout, A633 Rotherham Road, Parkgate, have there been changed priorities for vehicular movements ? Members noted that an assessment of vehicular traffic movements is currently taking place and the implementation of a signalised crossing facility necessitates that lane designations are to be changed on the approaches to the roundabout. This roundabout is part of a very congested highway corridor and a delicate balance has to be struck in order to ensure the flow of traffic and avoid lengthy waiting times.
(iii) A630 Centenary Way, Rotherham, from the Tesco supermarket to the St. Ann’s roundabout – in response to a question, Members noted that the operation of the sequence of the various traffic signals is currently being assessed.