By Russell Butt February 28, 2013 and repressed from Get Surrey
MILLIONS of pounds will be ploughed into traffic measures in Egham to counteract congestion caused by the town’s level crossings.
Members of Surrey County Council’s local committee for Runnymede heard on Monday traffic modelling in 2011 – part of research into an £11 million package of mitigation measures for the now-defunct Airtrack rail link – had shown traffic measures could counter the anticipated increase in rail services at crossings in Thorpe Road, Vicarage Road, Station Road and Prune Hill.
The plans include bridges for cyclists and pedestrians.
County highways officer Lyndon Mendes told the committee bridges would not be at all the level crossings but those with the best ‘desire lines’ as indicated by the modelling.
Asked how the bridges would reduce car congestion, he explained: “When we did the Airtrack scheme there were a number of things that came together that mitigated the effect of crossing down times. “An issue was actually providing people with greater choice of how to make their journeys.
“A large number of trips were made locally of less than a mile, so by making sure that those trips are done in a more sustainable way we can take those car trips off the road.”
The main source of funding for the scheme is via the Enterprise M3 Local Transport Body, whose board is a conglomerate of Surrey and Hampshire County Councils and the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The body would supply an estimated £9m per annum for various schemes in the M3 region, a portion of which would be directed to Runnymede.
Two Egham-based proposals form part of the county’s major schemes for countering congestion hotspots in Runnymede; the £4m Egham Sustainable Package, which is earmarked to begin in 2016, includes the shared bridges, more efficient bus routes and increased cycle connectivity, connecting to the proposed £744,000 cycle route linking Egham with Staines.
The second is a £5m package of improvements at the Runnymede Roundabout, a notorious congestion hotspot, which has been earmarked for such projects several times in the past and is scheduled to commence in 2015.
Egham Chamber of Commerce fought Airtrack on the grounds it would decimate businesses in the town by gridlocking the crossings.
Chamber chairman Mark Adams was sceptical that the Runnymede Roundabout plans would ever come to be, but hoped the schemes could decrease congestion, given news this week of a new proposed rail link to connect Clapham Junction with Heathrow Airport.
He said: “We welcome the recognition by Surrey County Council that transport bottlenecks are constraining economic growth locally and that Egham has suffered particularly due to the convergence of major roads such as the M25, M4, M3 and A30.
“Dealing with the Runnymede Roundabout will help local businesses and might mitigate the impact of level crossing closures.”