'Not-so-smart' corridor scheme for Northampton could cause traffic chaos if left turn is banned says residents' group
A residents' group fears a scheme aimed at busting traffic in St James could have the opposite effect - after learning a heavily used left turn by the Northampton Saints ground will be "banned."
The main construction phase of Northamptonshire County Council's Smart Corridor scheme the St James Square area is set to start on January 4.
The project promises to "improve commuter journeys" and will eventually see traffic sensors installed in the area, improved cycle lanes, a new bus shelter and live traffic updates placed on digital screens.
But as part of the scheme aimed at improving traffic flow in the area, the council wants to "ban" regular traffic from using the left turn from Spencer Bridge Road onto Weedon Road - opposite Franklin's Gardens.
St James Residents Association believes this will cause "chaos" elsewhere.
The association released a statement following a meeting with builders Kier WSP, saying: "This banning order, except for emergency vehicles, will cause more congestion than it alleviates in our opinion and this was communicated to the representative at the meeting by concerned residents."
County councillor Gareth Eales, (Lab, Dallington and Spencer) says the move will be dangerous, will restrict access to the Melbourne House flats and will force people to make illegal u-turns.
However, the county council says the move will benefit pedestrians and "increase the capacity" of the junction.
A spokesman for the authority, said: "The left turn from Spencer Bridge road into Weedon Road will be closed off at some times during the construction period.
"It is intended to ban this turn in the final scheme to increase the capacity of this junction and means that pedestrians have a much safer route at this junction."
The main construction work will start on Wednesday, January 4, focusing on Weedon Road, Harlestone Road and St James Road with round-the- clock lane closures in place.
In addition, the right turn from Weedon Road into Harlestone Road will be closed to allow construction to take place from the end of March.
Once the construction work has finished, resurfacing will be carried out in May before the scheduled completion of the scheme in June.
The St James Square area is one of three corridors being developed in Northampton with central government funding available until 2019.
The other corridors which will be developed are the Kingsthorpe Road corridor and the Kettering Road corridor.