Bridge could hold key to reducing congestion in St James area of Northampton

Traffic chaos at Sixfields.
Traffic chaos at Sixfields.

A bridge could offer the solution to congestion in the St James area of Northampton, according the town’s Labour group.

Earlier in the month civic leaders sent a plea to the Transport Secretary to dispose of a stretch of redundant railway track, which is preventing the two ends of St James Mill Road from being linked up.

Northampton’ Borough Council, the county council, two MPs and the two local enterprise partnerships serving Northamptonshire said the project would be key to improving traffic flow around the new railway station by allowing an alternative ‘L-shaped’ route between Towcester Road and the A4500.

Plans for the road have been delayed because it would have to cross a stretch of an old freight line which, despite being unused, is still being considered for future use by Network Rail.

This week there has been a renewed call to speed the project along by taking a route over the railway.

Councillor Gareth Eales (Lab, Spencer) is due to make a motion to Monday night’s full borough council meeting that the authority considers “an alternative option,” such as building a bridge over the disused track, ‘at the earliest opportunity’.

The motion reads:“It would increase the economic viability of the south-west district and particularly the Waterside Enterprise Zone and the new rail station.

“Also the major problem of heavy traffic on Saints and Cobblers match days would be much improved.”

Congestion-hit St James residents have called for the link road to be built as soon possible. Secretary of the district’s residents association, Graham Croucher,said: “It would make a huge difference to St James.

“It would offer an alternative route for traffic to take when things get snarled up.

“On the other hand that railway could be equally important to the town, so perhaps we need to find the money to fund a bridge. That’s the ideal situation.

“The line goes all the way to Brackmills so there could be an opportunity there for companies to deliver freight on the rails.”