WORRIED residents and businesses fear Horncastle will be plunged into a traffic nightmare next month when Lincolnshire County Council starts work on major improvements to the town’s busiest junction.
The council claims a five-week programme will transform the junction of the A158 and A153 and help alleviate the risk of flooding.
However, the News can reveal the Bull Ring will be shut at certain times to allow vital work to be carried out on a bridge across the River Waring.
The diversion will take Louth and Boston Road traffic - including HGV vehicles - along the already congested High Street, along West Street and onto Lincoln Road near to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.
One business owner, who did not want to be named, told the News: “It’s madness. I can appreciate improvements have to be done but who has made this decision? I can see nothing but trouble.
“Have you tried driving along High Street on a busy market day? If you add in all the main road traffic and throw in all the idiots who regularly park on yellow lines, it’s going to be chaos - total meltdown.”
The work will include:
l New energy efficient street lighting installed
l Traffic lights digitally updated
l A new pedestrian crossing built on South Street
l Major improvements - including vital ‘waterproofing’ - to the bridge over the Waring
l Additional surface water gullies
l Footpaths and sections of the road re-surfaced
Bill Aron, Horncastle’s representative on the county council, said he could understand concerns about potential problems but appealed for patience.
He added: “I am delighted the county council highways have seen fit to invest heavily in Horncastle on this necessary improvement scheme.
“It is a question of a short period of disruption providing a long-term benefit. Diversions will be clearly marked and the work will be carried out as quickly and safely as possible,”
Graham Perkins, owner of a town centre newsagent, said: “The work has got to be done but it is a crazy time of year to do it. It might not be too much an issue for us but it will affect some other companies deliveries.”
Rachael Fletcher, who works for Foster and Sons, said: “There is always concern when works like this are happening, but I don’t think there’s a good time of year to do it. I’d rather it be next month than in the run up to Christmas.”
Phil Harrison, who lives near to the junction of Lincoln Road and Bridge Street, said: “It’s bad enough down here normally. It’s always a struggle when the school kids come out and extra traffic will be a nightmare.”
Tim Clark, traffic signals manager for the county council, said: “To undertake the work safely and in the most efficient manner, we shall close the bridge to all traffic.
“By waterproofing the bridge, we will be protecting the structure from aggressive carriageway water that may contain salt which corrodes the reinforcement in the concrete in the bridge deck.
“It is important we protect the life of the bridge and minimise the long term cost to the tax payer.
“We have written to local businesses to give them advanced warning and will continue to work with them throughout the works and maintain access where possible.”
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Weather for Horncastle
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 14 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 13 C to 24 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North