Ours is the most beautiful city in the UK but driving around it can be frustrating at times.
We only have one and half bridges across the Dee, so all roads tend to focus on the Grosvenor and Overleigh roundabouts. Ideally there would be better bus services and cycling facilities (and while some of our bus services are good, others especially to the villages, are patchy.) But these take money, which as we know is one thing the local council doesn’t have at present.
One long term plan I have been working on is the much called-for western by-pass, from the A55 at the Post House roundabout, across the Dee and joining up with Sealand Road. This would take through traffic out of the city centre.
Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, and I have been working with Ken Skates AM, the Welsh Assembly member for Wrexham and also the Welsh Assembly minister for economic development. Ken has commissioned a report to find the best possible routing for this new road. It can’t come soon enough.
Samantha and I are working with the Local Enterprise Partnership to secure money for Hoole Bridge. It is too narrow but vehicles whizz over it, making it dangerous for pedestrians and cyclist. Again though, I am frustrated at how long it takes to put together funding.
Over in Boughton Heath, the Sainsbury’s roundabout continues to frustrate as well. Originally the council objected to the new homes built at Saighton Camp until the traffic issue could be resolved, but the objections were over-ruled. Now we have to find a solution. My immediate priority is to get a safe crossing for the pupils going to Christleton High School, whose Head Teacher, Damian Stenhouse, has been a powerful advocate for more safety measures.
My second most annoying road is St Martin’s Way, coming off the Fountains Roundabout. It is two lanes, but at Watergate Street the right hand lane becomes right turn only. Cars whizz along the right hand lane and push in at the lights, but technically they aren’t doing anything wrong until they get to the junction. It just feels like they are pushing in and can be frustrating.
But top spot in my most annoying roads list must be the A51 Tarvin Road through Littleton. It is one of the most congested A-roads in the country, and is more heavily used because the M56 is so unpredictable and unreliable.
The council is looking at some schemes such as widening. But I am working again with the LEP to find more radical long-term solutions to the terrible congestion. One of those for the future must surely be better public transport.