Friday, September 26, 2014

News: Parkway works set to begin

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Another transport project is set to begin next week as part of the long-term major roadworks around Junction 33 of the M1 in Rotherham.

The Highway Agency recently completed a pinch point scheme, reducing congestion and improving journeys for drivers around the junction at Catcliffe. The government-funded, £2m improvement at J33 involved widening the southbound exit slip road and roundabout, and builds on the previous year's widening of the northbound exit slip road, helping to ease congestion, reduce delays and prevent motorists queuing back on to the M1 southbound carriageway. The scheme will make journey times more reliable and improve access to Rotherham, Sheffield, and the surrounding areas.

The northern side of the roundabout has been widened from two lanes to four lanes and the A630 Rotherway leading to the M1 southbound entry slip road has been widened from three lanes to four.

Now work is set to begin next week to refurbish and repair the Old Flatts Bridge, which carries the A630 Rotherham Gateway to the Sheffield Parkway over rail lines.

From mid-October through to early February 2015, off-peak night time lane closures will be used to carry out the preparatory works for the main phase of the traffic management scheme, which is due to start in February next year. From then until when the work is completed in November 2015, traffic will run on two narrow lanes in both directions at all times using contra-flow lanes.

It will also be necessary to have four road closures of the Parkway during the works.

Cllr Maggie Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods for the Council, said: "The work will ensure the integrity of the bridge for many years to come on what is the main link between Rotherham and Sheffield as well as the motorway network. If the works are not completed it would have serious implications on vehicles using the Parkway."

The Old Flatts bridge is the first bridge that drivers on the Parkway cross when heading towards Waverley, the site of the Enterprise Zone and Advanced Manufacturing Park (pictured), and towards the centre of Sheffield from the M1 Motorway. Inspections indicated that a scheme of strengthening was required and Rotherham Council secured £3m from the Government's "pinch point" fund and will add around £1m of its own funding to enable the work to be carried out.

Without the Government funding, the full costs of maintaining the bridge would fall to the Council. Alternatively a weight restriction or potential closure of the bridge would be required. In the worst case that would have resulted in the A630 Parkway effectively being shut to all traffic or a weight restriction imposed to heavy vehicles. The ensuing diversions, congestion and cost to the economy would have been significant.

RMBC website

Images: Harworth Estates

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