Speed limits lowered on 'high-risk' road between Market Rasen and Louth

Councillors have unanimously approved a set of speed limit reductions along the A631 between Market Rasen and Louth, a stretch that has witnessed 260 road casualties, including eight fatalities, since 2010.
The proposed new 40mph limit to include the junction with the A157.The proposed new 40mph limit to include the junction with the A157.
The proposed new 40mph limit to include the junction with the A157.

During a meeting on Monday morning (February 12), members of Lincolnshire County Council’s Planning & Regulation Committee voted to reduce the speed limit on three key sections of the road in a bid to curb the collision rate.

The changes include:

  • New 50mph limits on sections between Market Rasen and North Willingham, North Willingham and Ludford, and on both approaches to South Elkington
  • A new 40mph limit through the developed area further south to include the junction with the A157
  • An extension to the existing 30mph speed limit in line with policy on Willingham Road in Market Rasen
The proposed speed limit extension on the A631.The proposed speed limit extension on the A631.
The proposed speed limit extension on the A631.

The county council applied for funding for targeted improvements along the A631 between Market Rasen and Louth, following a 2016 Road Safety Foundation analysis that ranked it amongst the country’s 50 highest-risk A-class roads.

The bid aimed to tap into the government’s £175 million Safer Roads Fund, designed to reduce collisions and fatalities at accident hotspots across the nation.

The proposal faced nine objections from local residents, who argued that the national speed limit was suitable for the road’s rural setting.

They contended that lowering the speed limit might lead to riskier overtaking manoeuvres, potentially increasing accidents, and that it would “unreasonably” extend journey times.

The proposed 50mph limits on both approaches to South Elkington.The proposed 50mph limits on both approaches to South Elkington.
The proposed 50mph limits on both approaches to South Elkington.

Others insisted that enforcing the new limit could be problematic and suggested that funds would be more effectively spent on improving key junctions.

However, Coun Thomas Ashton countered: “We have to start somewhere,” acknowledging that additional measures could be considered in the future if enforcement proves challenging.

Market Rasen Wolds ward Coun Stephen Bunney highlighted that although local residents may have become accustomed to the road’s dangers, it often leaves visitors feeling scared.

He remarked: “It is very clear that the people in North Willingham are very concerned about the speed on the route. A slower speed will hopefully prevent further accidents.”

Coun Bunney also added that the De Aston School is regularly impacted by the traffic issues, being along Willingham Road, and the alterations will hopefully make it safer for students.

Meanwhile, Coun Ian Carrington characterised the road as having “an absolutely fierce reputation.”