Posts Tagged ‘Roads’

Crown Lane/Vale Avenue Weight Restrictions

November 15th, 2011 No comments

In 2006, prompted by residents’ concerns about the level and speed of HGV traffic on Crown Lane, Horwich, Bolton Council instigated an experimental weight limit on Crown Lane coupled with two sets of congestion creating, sorry ‘traffic calming’ chicanes.

Fortunately, six months later after causing long queues on Crown Lane, the chicanes were removed, however the experimental weight limit was made a permanent order (shown in red on the map below).

The effectiveness of this weight restriction has in reality been rather limited and has unfortunately had an unintended side effect.

Crown Lane from Tanners Brow

In 2007 at the time of the review of the experimental limit, two of the firms on Crown Lane who use HGVs, objected to the weight limit. Bolton Council quite rightly pointed out that the limit would not affect them as it only restricted through traffic. Access to premises on Crown Lane is still permitted, and here’s the first issue – The majority of the HGV traffic that uses Crown Lane, does so to access premises on Crown Lane and has not been reduced by the weight limit being imposed. There was very little through traffic to remove.

The existence of this limit has also had a side effect. Prior to the introduction of the weight limit on Crown Lane there was a pre-existing limit on Mason Street/Vale Avenue (shown in blue on the map above). The addition of the newer limit on Crown Lane has effectively created a larger limit which has merged with that on Vale Avenue. Although technically two separate limits, I have noticed an increase in HGVs using Mason Street/Vale Avenue to access premises on Crown Lane. Bolton Council state that “Enforcement of weight limits is a matter for the police. However, the police have limited resources to enforce this type of restriction”. Even if the police do stop a HGV driver on Vale Avenue, he can innocently claim that his destination is within the extent of the weight limit.

From the map above, it is clear that the businesses that are the origin and destination of the HGV traffic (shaded yellow) are all at the SW end of Crown Lane/Station Road. If the Council’s intention really was to limit the amount of HGV traffic on Crown Lane, then they should have restricted the weight limit to north of Vale Avenue. That would have been extremely effective at cutting HGV traffic past the residential properties on Crown Lane but would have meant HGVs travelling ‘the long way round’ via the narrow Blackrod Station railway bridge, the A6, De Havilland Way and Chorley New Road, adding to congestion on that route.

Crown Lane is after all a classified road (the B5238), intended to link Horwich to Blackrod. Unlike Mason Street/Vale Avenue, it is not a minor road being used as a rat-run; at the same time I sympathise with Crown Lane residents as it was not built to handle the traffic from the over-development (both commercial and residential) at the southern end of Crown Lane/Station Road.

I do not feel that the limit on Crown Lane achieves any material benefit; the vast majority of HGV traffic using Crown Lane is legally exempt and the existence of the limit undermines the effectiveness of the previously existing limit on Vale Avenue/Mason Street.

Blackrod Bypass Northbound Closure

September 15th, 2011 No comments

remind me to buy Bolton Council a spirit level for XmasExpect fun and games in the next few weeks as Blackrod Bypass will be closed northbound from the junction with Manchester Road into Blackrod and the junction with Station Road (see map).

Bolton Council’s roadworks bulletin is currently listing the closure dates as Monday 26th September to Friday 11th November.

The diversion is through Blackrod which already struggles to cope with traffic in the morning and evening. Southbound traffic is unaffected.

View Blackrod Bypass Closure in a larger map

The closure is required to complete the resurfacing work that has already been carried out on the section of bypass to the north of Station Road.

TomTom Phantom Road that won’t disappear

February 26th, 2010 No comments

SatNav maps are only as good as the map data on which they are based. Inevitably errors will creep in and roads change. TomTom GPS units have a feature called MapShare which ostensibly allows you to report any such errors to allow the maps to be corrected.

Since I got my SatNav five years ago, TomTom has shown a road in Horwich that has never existed. Unfortunately, despite reporting this error using MapShare (and prior to that directly to TeleAtlas, the map provider), this road is still shown on TomTom’s maps (updated today v845.2666):


This may well be a phantom road – a deliberate mistake put there by TeleAtlas to catch out anyone who decides to copy their maps. The problem is that the TomTom will try to use this road as a route. SatNav units often come in for some stick when they route drivers down none-existent roads, but if the suppliers fail to fix these errors, despite being told about them several times, it is hardly surprising.

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Why texting while driving is a bad idea

September 16th, 2009 No comments

Everyone who buys a mobile phone or drives a car should be made to watch this video.

I make no apologies about the graphic nature of the content – only when people see the consequences do we stand any chance of people changing their behaviour.

Haydon Bridge Bypass Complete (according to Google)

November 18th, 2008 No comments

Haydon Bridge is the last remaining village on the A69 to be bypassed and while construction is still underway with a completion date of Spring 2009, Google maps appears to have jumped the gun and seems to think it has been completed:

View Larger Map


I have just updated the maps on my TomTom and the new bypass is also shown on here:

Haydon Bridge Bypass on TomTom

This is not surprising as both Google and TomTom take their map data from Tele-Atlas, who would appear to be the ones jumping the gun here.

Ironically, TomTom’s map update service proudly claims “Tomorrow’s maps today“. I didn’t realise they meant literally.

Further Update (24 Nov)

A representative from The Highways Agency has today confirmed that they were unaware of Google and TomTom showing the bypass as open. They also noted that Google maps has given the old road the number B6319 (as have TomTom) which has yet to be confirmed.

Update (27 Mar 09)

I drove along the A69 today and the bypass is now open.

The Manchester Motorist Cash Cow

November 12th, 2008 No comments

One from the inbox, portraying exactly how those who want the TIF proposal to go through view the motorist:

How the Yes Campaigns views the Manchester Motorist

Why should 1 in 10 pay when they won’t benefit?

November 11th, 2008 No comments

We can argue until the cows come home about the accuracy of the ‘only 10% will pay the congestion charge” claim of the Yes Vote campaign (it’s 20% according to the TIF consultation brochure), but let’s play along.

The pro-toll advocates say that it will only be 10% because others will be able to switch to a viable alternative (I can’t as previously posted). Following this logically through, this means that the remaining 10% are precisely the ones for whom the TIF proposals will not provide a viable public transport alternative.

So basically, the yes campaign are happy to promote the notion that the improvements should be paid for by those who can’t benefit from them.

How is that fair?

Lack of Response from MPs and Councillors

October 28th, 2008 No comments

In the past three weeks, I have contacted a number of people regarding the Manchester Congestion Tax. It is interesting to note the lack of response from the majority, without even the decency of a simple acknowledgement from some.

These details are updated as of 30th November:

To Ack
11 Oct Cllr Raymond Barrow
Bolton Councillor for Horwich & Blackrod
No No 50
11 Oct Cllr Patricia Barrow
Bolton Councillor for Horwich & Blackrod
No No 50
11 Oct Cllr Michael Hollick
Bolton Councillor for Horwich & Blackrod
No No 50
11 Oct Rt Hon Ian Stewart
MP for Eccles
13 Oct No 50
11 Oct Cllr Barry Warner
Salford Councillor for Clifton
13 Oct 13 Oct 2
23 Oct Rt Hon Ruth Kelly
MP for Bolton West
No No 38
25 Oct Rt Hon Graham Brady
MP for Altrincham & Sale West
25 Oct 4 Nov 10
25 Oct Rt Hon Graham Stringer
MP for Blackley
No No 36
31 Oct Cllr Bob Allen
Bolton Councillor for Heaton & Lostock
31 Oct 31 Oct 0

Not a very impressive set of figures really; only three replies.

Given Ruth Kelly’s lack of response in the past, I don’t hold out much hope.

I will keep this post updated.

Update: 12th December

Ruth Kelly has finally responded – well sort of…

Only ten minutes after hearing the excellent result of the referendum, I arrived home to a letter from Ruth Kelly, but far from actually replying to my concerns, it would appear that she has simply forwarded my letter to GMPTE whose reply she has simply forwarded back to me without comment. A secretary could have done that!

It clearly stated in my original letter that I was fully aware of GMPTE’s attitude, so what was the point of getting them to repeat their propaganda? Given Ruth Kelly’s support for the TIF bid, it would seem that she is simply sitting on the fence.

What have GMPTE got against Bolton and Wigan?

October 13th, 2008 No comments

I’ve just found this gem on a Manchester Evening News Article from last year:

Oldham and Rochdale may not pay any congestion charges until Metrolink extensions to their town centres are complete. Other outlying areas – such as Stockport, which hopes to get a Metrolink line in the future – are also likely to avoid the charges for the first year.

Yet there is no mention of other outlying areas, such as Bolton and Wigan, who will NEVER get the Metrolink, yet are getting no such exemption.

Is it any wonder, Bolton and Wigan don’t want to be lumped in as part of Greater Manchester when they are discriminated against in this way?

As it happens, it would appear that AGMA have reneged on this exemption and only Trafford Park is getting a 50% discount until they get some more buses, but this clearly shows how some areas are considered more equal than others.

More Pro-Congestion False Statements

October 10th, 2008 No comments

I saw this letter in the Bolton News from none other than Lord Peter Smith, Leader of AGMA, once again reeling off the usual false statements:

While we believe the strengths of the TIF package speak for themselves…

It still amazes me how they make it sound as if they actually believe their own bull.

In Bolton, … Extra seats would be added to peak time trains

Already getting them mate – nothing to do with the TIF.

and an earlier morning train could operate from Clitheroe to Manchester via Bolton in the mornings to further ease overcrowding.

Wow! A Whole Train! I can hardly contain my excitement. Also note the word ‘could’.

Bolton station could undergo extensive improvements, with new platforms built on the Wigan line at Lostock station. Passenger facilities at Hall i’th’ Wood, Bromley Cross, Lostock, Blackrod and Westhoughton stations could be improved.

There’s that word ‘could’ again, twice this time. I’m not particularly interested in improved facilities at Blackrod. I just want to turn up and get on a train.

cyclists will see the creation of a high quality route along the former Bolton-Bury rail line.

How about a rail line along a rail line (there’s a novelty) and reverse some of the damage caused by Dr Beeching?

Across Greater Manchester, the package will deliver thousands of extra seats on trains and trams, new Metrolink lines

Extra seats we’re already getting and Metrolink lines we won’t.

and a travel smart card system.

Perfectly achievable without congestion charges by politicians with the balls to make the bus/train companies comply – ah wait, I see the problem with that last statement.

To help fund this, a limited congestion charge would be introduced, affecting vehicles heading towards the city centre between 7am and 9.30am and away from the city centre between 4pm and 6.30pm, for five hours out of every 24.

Please, please, everyone quoting this last remark, get it through your thick skulls: There is nothing limited about a congestion charge which is in force for FIVE HOURS during the working day, and 100% of the time that most workers will be travelling.

Stop claiming it is limited.