Kingsthorpe 'smart corridor' scheme will not start until late 2018 at least

The Kingsthorpe smart corridor works are not due to start until late next year when planning money from the developers of Buckton Fields becomes available.
The Kingsthorpe smart corridor works are not due to start until late next year when planning money from the developers of Buckton Fields becomes available.

Plans to establish a so-called "smart corridor" to ease traffic in Kingsthorpe are unlikely to start until late 2018 when planning sweetener funds become available.

The first phase of a similar scheme along Weedon road in St James was completed in June, following a six-month construction period.

The Smart corridor works caused traffic backlogs in St James for six months.

The Smart corridor works caused traffic backlogs in St James for six months.

The St James corridor works involved changes to the bus lanes on the busy stretch, improvements to traffic lights and lanes resurfaced.

It will eventually see live traffic displays, wi-fi enabled bus stops and improved traffic lights installed along Weedon Road.

Northamptonshire County Council announced plans to start a similar scheme in Kingsthorpe and on Kettering Road last year.

But the authority has confirmed works are unlikely to start until well into 2018 so it can use sweetener money from the Buckton Fields development to pay for it.

A spokesman said: "Smart Corridor schemes are about using the latest technology available to improve commuter journeys along the main Northampton transport routes.

“Work has already been completed on a smart corridor scheme in the St James Square area - the first of three routes in the town to be upgraded.

“We have secured Growth Deal money from the Government for the smart corridor works but the Kingsthorpe project also requires top-up funding from section 106 money from development to the north of the town.

“It is envisaged that this will become available next year and then the scheme can be taken forward.”

Section 106 funds are agreements made between developers and local councils to pay for improvements in a given area.

The smart corridor scheme in St James cost £2 million but caused six months of commuter chaos along Weedon Road.

Kingsthorpe Councillor Sally Beardsworth (Lib Dem) believes the works will create bedlam at the Cock Hotel junction when they start next year. She is also sceptical over the benefits of the scheme.

"I fail to see what improvements they could make that would cover the impact of all the cars that use those roads," she said.

"If they are going to do work, I suggest they do it at night to minimise the impact."