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Is individuals resorting to building private toll roads really a step too far?

Recently there has been a lot of publicity about a businessman from near Bath, Mike Watt, who rented local agricultural land built a private toll road on it.

The idea being to create a 365-metre temporary bypass around ongoing roadworks on the Kelston Road that are in place to repair significant flood damage to the road that occurred in February of this year.

With the road not expected to re-open until the end of 2014, Mr Watt decided enough was enough, and that a more practical solution was needed to avoid the frustrating and unnecessary 10-mile diversion route offered by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11008835/Entrepreneur-builds-private-toll-road-after-landslip.html

His solution, a private toll road costing £2 per journey, still enables traffic to use the A431 between Bristol and Bath and means people have an alternative to the long diversion.

However, the route is not without is challengers, with people muttering questions about whether a temporary surface made of rolled chippings is safe, appropriate, how it will be affected by poor weather, and others bemoaning the legal and planning aspects of the initiative.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, here at Clearview Traffic we think his and the village’s initiative is to be applauded. Indeed, the council had even debated the idea of a temporary relief road, but felt that it would take nearly 16 weeks to put in place, and so was not viable.

Clearly, budgetary pressures play a large part in unplanned extensive remedial works like these, and so the local council should not be seen as the bad party in this.

But it does perhaps serve as a good reminder to all of us involved the road network maintenance sector about our role here of keeping traffic moving – and it should make us reflect about how we do things, what we’re here for, about who we actually serve, and about their priorities and therefore the need for us think in a more agile and practical way as to how we can help the motorist.

Whilst cost is always a key factor in schemes, the wider impact of 7,000 commuters each day travelling an additional 10 miles each way, five days a week over the next 20 weeks equates to a staggering 14,000,000 additional miles being travelled unnecessarily.

The additional fuel cost alone equates to around £1.7m, let alone the additional congestion and likely air pollution along the diverted routes; so not good the individual’s purse and certainly not good for the local environment.

And all when a 365-metre temporary relief road costing £150,000 could have done the job.

What do you think? Is this madness? Should it have been allowed? Should the council and infrastructure industry have done more? Why not have your say here.

Author: admin |Date Published: September 2014

Links: Congestion News / Commentary Journey Predictability

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