Bypass may not the only solution to town traffic jams

Cheaper and quicker solutions to solving Horncastle's notorious traffic problems should be explored - before any significant commitment is made to a long-awaited town bypass.

Could  altering the sequence of the traffic lights solve town's traffic nightmare? Picture: Bull Ring traffic, Horncastle.
Could altering the sequence of the traffic lights solve town's traffic nightmare? Picture: Bull Ring traffic, Horncastle.

Horncastle is one of the key points in ambitious plans for a Coastal Highway.

The project - led by Lincolnshire County Council- is designed to improve access to the East Coast via the A158

Supporters say the upgrade would attract thousands more visitors - and generate millions of pounds for the area’s economy.

One of the main ‘hot--spots on the A158 is the junction with the A153 - prompting renewed calls for a bypass.

But at their monthly meeting last Tuesday, members of Horncastle Town Council were told a bypass could take 50 years to come to fruition.

Instead, town and district councillor Fiona Martin suggested there were ‘quicker and cheaper’ fixes - including altering the sequence of lights at the junction of the A158 with the A153.

Coun Martin was one of four Horncastle councillors who attended a meeting earlier this month to discuss the Coastal Highway project.

She said: “The bypass is long-term. There are quicker solutions - like the phasing of the traffic lights.”

Coun Martin explained vehicles were often stuck in 15-20 minute queues on Boston Road - caused by the sequence of lights at the A158 junction.

She said that when those vehicles reached the junction, traffic along the A158 was often flowing freely.

Coun Martin accepted that at times, the A158 merited priority, particularly in the summer months.

However, she said that at less busy times changing the sequence of the lights would benefit Boston Road.

She said: “There is nothing more annoying than sitting for ages on Boston Road and then when you reach the traffic lights you find the A158 is flowing freely.

“The phasing favours the A158 and there are times when that is only right but there are times when it isn’t.

“In these days of reactive traffic lights, we should be able to do something about that.

“It would be a fairly quick win and wouldn’t be expensive. It would be a lot cheaper than a bypass and it would help the situation now.”

Horncastle Town Council chairman Coun Brian Burbidge said solving the town’s ‘bottleneck’ is only part of the solution to improving access to the coast.

He also attended initial meetings about a Coastal Highway but said discussions focused on the entire route - from the A1 to the coast.

Coun Burbidge acknowledged that while problems in Horncastle were ‘identified’, a bypass was not ‘talked about that much.’

He said: “There are easier fixes than a bypass. They would help it immediately and that’s what highways are looking at.”

Coun Brian Burbidge also said a bypass was ‘at least 10 years away’ but Coun Martin replied: “Ten years? It took Louth 50!”