Why wasn't controversial bus lane in Northampton opened during major traffic jams after fatal M1 incident?
There were heavy traffic jams throughout the town on Wednesday (August 25) after a death near junction 16 of the M1
Traffic was crawling in Northampton on Wednesday (August 25) after a fatal incident on the M1 near junction 16 led to motorists driving through Northampton as a cut-through - but why wasn't the bus lane opened?
Disgruntled motorists got in touch with the Chron to say their commutes from Sixfields to Hunsbury, for example, took around 40 minutes, which led them to ask why the Weedon Road/St James' Road bus lane was not opened up for general use to ease the congestion.
The main diversion route for the traffic was from Junction 16, along the A4500, A5076 and A5123 to M1 Junction 15a.
A West Northamptonshire Council spokesman said: "While there was a displacement of traffic as a result of the incident, which while increasing the amount of traffic along St James' Road did not create any significant issues of congestion. Our Team monitored this route using CCTV."
Our source, who was stuck in the traffic, said there was an issue of congestion.
The council went on to say: "Opening up a bus lane for an unplanned event is difficult in terms of messaging, signage and control and would create issues of confusion over a relatively short period of time for all users.
"We must also consider the longer term objectives of providing confidence to passengers that the bus is a reliable alternative to the car, since this is a sustainable form of transport which will continue to reduce congestion and pollution in a sustainable way over the longer term.
"We are aware of how Northampton can be affected when incidents occur on the M1 and we will continue to monitor this and consider any lessons learnt from this incident."
The council brought in the bus lane to encourage public transport use, bicycle use and to lower pollution levels in the area.