A number of changes to the Saints and Cobblers traffic management plan should ensure supporters’ vehicles are not gridlocked after the two teams finish playing at exactly the same time next Saturday, the county councillor responsible for highways has said.
Northamptonshire County Councillor Michael Clarke, cabinet member for transport and highways, said he had taken part in a “very productive” meeting with representatives from the town’s football and rugby teams, Northamptonshire Police, the borough council and St James Residents’ Association on Tuesday night ahead of the next fixture clash on March 29.
Residents and supporters criticised the implementation of the traffic plan on March 1 as cars stood stationary for several hours after the Cobblers match against Bristol Rovers and Saints match against Gloucester.
But Councillor Clarke said a number of changes had been agreed which should ensure traffic keeps moving.
The main changes include the positioning of a police officer to direct the traffic near the Sixfields roundabout and the electronic signs in the town will be used to advise people to use alternative routes in and out of town on March 29.
In the long term, Councillor Clarke said he had also encouraged the two sports clubs to identify fixture clashes early on in the season so arrangements could be made to change the kick-off times.
He said: “It’s never easy when you have 18,000 people all in one area but the changes we have made will be able to mitigate the effects of the traffic.”
Motorists are being advised to avoid the St James area of Northampton on Saturday, March 29 between 1pm and 5.30pm as heavy traffic is predicted. Councillor Clarke said the local authority would be putting travel advice and details of alternative routes on electronic signs in Northampton during the next week to give people as much notice as possible. He said: “We are advising people to, if possible, avoid travelling through the St James area on that Saturday afternoon and take alternative routes.”