Harrogate Relief Road will be the M62 Relief Road. What will prevent the proposed road from becoming a viable, alternative east-west option to the M62, thereby encouraging more traffic onto our local roads?
This is the vital question that the Harrogate Advertiser failed to ask Coun MacKenzie in last week’s article: ‘Mapping out the road (and rail) ahead’.
With his continued assertion that the ‘primary purpose’ of the HRR is ‘to relieve congestion on our existing road network’, Coun MacKenzie is failing to give the public the bigger picture. One look at the ‘East-West Priorities Plan’ map on page 25 of the oft-quoted Strategic Transport Prospectus for North Yorkshire - a document that Coun MacKenzie helped to write - shows us that congestion relief is not the whole story and he is downplaying the other implications of the road.
The dualling of the A64 from Scarborough, the A1079 from Hull and the York Outer Ring Road, combined with the Junction 47 improvements (where the A1 meets the A59), and the Kex Gill work, will all serve to make the A59 an attractive option for Yorkshire – Lancashire traffic once the obstacle of Harrogate and Knaresborough has been dealt with by a ‘relief road’ that will act as a bypass.
What’s the problem with that I hear many of the motorists cry.
Well, If the chosen relief road alignment were either of the inner - Nidd Gorge/Bilton/ Starbeck/Green Belt affecting - routes (that we are told will have most impact on Skipton Road congestion), we are going to see a huge increase in traffic volumes in our communities - sucked in by this east-west road that is being sold to us as a remedy for congestion.
Why is Coun MacKenzie keen to downplay this reality? He is using congestion relief to sell us a road that will increase traffic and development within and between our towns and do the opposite of what we are being told. The Harrogate Advertiser needs to start asking some difficult questions before it officially endorses this development road that will make our towns another ugly, urban conglomeration, choking on more traffic than we currently have.
Chair – Nidd Gorge