Wednesday 17 July 2024
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Potential plans for major works on A52 underpass near West Bridgford

Since last year there has been a campaign to improve the underpass underneath the A52 near West Bridgford.

Representatives from local groups Nottinghamshire Area Ramblers, Pedals and the British Horse Society met with National Highways to discuss options for improving the dangerous crossings on the busy A52 carriageway near West Bridgford.

As a result, National Highways commissioned an assessment exercise and the conclusions from the final report support the view that the existing underpass at Landmere Lane is the most convenient, direct and safe solution, but the groups say that it needs to be upgraded and better connected to existing footpaths and bridleways.

Screenshot 2022 06 04 at 14.29.19

The A52 south and east of West Bridgford acts as a travel barrier for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders trying to cross it.

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Screenshot 2022 06 04 at 14.29.26
Potential improvements

Last year, concerned for the safety of children walking or cycling to school, and local residents wanting to access the countryside from their homes, a joint Active Travel Group started a campaign for some simple solutions to be put in place.

They want the existing underpass improved for users with the provision of connections to both existing bridleways.

They are also asking for the path linking the end of Landmere Lane to the Ruddington bridleway south of the A52 to be recognised as an official public right of way so access cannot be prevented in the future.

A petition raised over 2,100 signatures with people voicing their concerns about the dangerous crossings, and the campaign had the support of the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe, Ruth Edwards.

In response to the campaign, National Highways commissioned Tetra Tech to carry out a feasibility study on their behalf.

They explored various options for provision of a safer way to cross the busy dual carriageway between the Nottingham Knight and Wheatcroft roundabouts, including a shared use bridge over the road, a pedestrian crossing, and improvement of an existing underpass.

They also considered connecting these up to the current public rights of way network surrounding the area. Various groups were consulted in the production of the report and data were collated on traffic, pedestrian and cycle movements in the area.

Steve Parkhouse of Nottinghamshire Ramblers comments on the results:

‘The report states that the section of the A52 between the Nottingham Knight and the Wheatcroft roundabouts had a daily average of 52,000 motor vehicle journeys in February with many travelling at over 60mph.

‘That is a truly shocking figure for those trying to cross, and the problem will be compounded when the roundabout work to increase traffic flows is completed. Why spend millions of pounds on the roundabouts and not deal with the three crossing points to help all users, not just motorists?’

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The underpass under the A52
© westbridgfordwire.com

The research found that motor traffic on Landmere Lane is light and with an average speed just over 23mph.

The results also showed that 60% of users on foot or cycle avoided crossing the carriage ways of the A52, preferring to use the underpass even though it needs work to bring it up to standard.

A refuge used for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the A52 © westbridgfordwire.com
A refuge used for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the A52
© westbridgfordwire.com

The report states the only cost effective way to provide a safe crossing for those on foot, cycle or horse is to utilise the existing underpass and suggests a number of  improvements to the tunnel and surrounding paths to make it more accessible.

These include surfacing the approaches and inside of the underpass, and enhancing the lighting and the directional signage.

Underpass underneath the A52 © westbridgfordwire.com
Underpass underneath the A52
© westbridgfordwire.com

Steve added: ‘We are pleased that the conclusion of the assessment exercise agrees with our view that the underpass is the only valid option for enabling safe crossing of the dual carriageway. In the meantime the report also calls for some simple improvements to immediately make the underpass more suitable, such as removing the piles of soil and cutting back the bushes and trees, work that could be done now at little cost.’

Underpass underneath the A52 © westbridgfordwire.com
Underpass underneath the A52
© westbridgfordwire.com

The local MP, Ruth Edwards is arranging a further meeting with National Highways to discuss how the project should be moved forward.

However, not everyone is in favour of the potential improvement works, describing them as ‘over-the-top’ and unnecessary given that the underpass is already being used on a daily basis.

David Allcock, who lives on Wayte Court, close to where the underpass exits onto Landmere Lane told The Wire:

‘We haven’t been consulted or contacted at all on this suggestion, the first we knew of it was when we saw it on The Wire.

‘I agree in principle that there is a need for safe crossings as the two existing crossing points already in place on the A52 serve no purpose whatsoever and are extremely dangerous, however these plans are too expensive and completely unnecessary.

‘However, I do have reservations regarding the solutions put forward to solve this problem namely to increase or update the underpass outside Wayte Court.

‘With reference to the local ramblers groups they already have a perfectly good crossing point as the underpass already meets their requirements in its current state.

‘The whole essence of rambling is to enjoy nature and there are inevitably muddy paths encountered whilst outside walking in the countryside.

‘Surely we could just level the mound of earth inside the underpass nd it will function perfectly – not spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on it.’

‘As far as cyclists are concerned they already use the underpass perfectly well.

‘With regard to horse riders – the only people that stable horses in this area are those who reside at the end of the farm track that continues from Wayte Court. They do not and never have used the underpass. I have spoken to them and they know nothing of this petition. Strange don’t you think?

‘We are a family with equestrian experience spanning 20 years.

“In our view no experienced rider would contemplate either walking a horse or worse riding a horse under a low bridge for fear the animal taking fright, injuring itself and/or the rider. By all means dig down to create height – then imagine a frightened animal rearing and becoming uncontrollable.

‘I fail to understand what would be gained by upgrading the underpass facility which is already in place.

‘It would serve no useful purpose.

‘Why cut down trees and greenery and re-tarmac the entire area – there’s even a suggestion of urban ‘graffiti’ type artwork on the documents.

‘The underpass just needs the floor levelling, the lighting upgrading and perhaps some signage, not a major project to change the whole area.

‘One solution may be to update the crossing point which is already in place opposite Old Road – perhaps a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights which could serve two purposes.

‘Firstly it would slow the traffic down which you state in your letter is travelling at over 60 miles per hour. It is indeed more like 70 or 80 or even higher.

‘At times it is more like a race track. Secondly it would give a very safe crossing point so in effect ramblers could be accommodated as well as cyclists. Bear in mind of course they still have a perfectly good and accessible underpass facility.

‘As residents we have no objection and indeed have welcomed walkers, cyclists and horse riders using the road. However, there are limits. Wayte Court is a private road an the residents are alarmed as to what may be in store.

‘McDonald’s, Greggs and others have created a huge amount of rubbish in and around Wayte Court and the underpass area which I personally help to clear up!

‘We have even experienced people seeking overnight shelter and with the increase in food waste an increase in the rat population.

‘If we are to expect a large increase in traffic and rubbish then there may be a point where we seek the Council to adopt the road.’

The effort continues to resolve the issue of crossing the A52 with a site meeting planned for next week.

RELATED:

•  Over 1,800 sign petition to improve underpass for crossing the A52

•  Highways England funding for study into A52 crossing points near Sharphill Woods

•  MP supports local groups’ push to improve A52 crossing at Edwalton

 

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