Roads campaigners and local stakeholders will present a united front in pressing for a new road bypassing Crowlas to be included in the next Government programme of major roads’ projects.
West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas is backing efforts spearheaded by the A30 Crowlas Bypass Now group to ensure that a new bypass, from St Erth to the Newtown roundabout, is included in the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) running from 2020 to 2025.
Typical scene from this morning at Rospeath crossroads:
At a meeting last week organised by Mr Thomas, Joe Poynton, from Crowlas Bypass Now, said that “all the ducks are more or less in line” in terms of the project getting concerted support from the local community and stakeholders.
A survey in Ludgvan parish has indicated overwhelming support for such a scheme and, as well as Mr Thomas, there is also support from local Cornwall Councillors, parish councils and Penzance Town Council.
Cllr Geoff Brown, CC Portfolio Holder for Transport
In addition, Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for Transport, was able to confirm that improvement to the A30 west of Camborne was a key priority for the council.
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“We have three clear priorities,” he told the meeting.
“Our most pressing priority is the A30 dualling work from Chiverton to Carland Cross but behind that, of equal importance to Cornwall Council are the upgrades of the A30 west of Camborne and the A38 in South East Cornwall.”
Mr Thomas said he was delighted that the project enjoyed such widespread support.
“Most importantly, a new road would make a massive difference to those people who live in Crowlas and the other communities along that stretch of the A30 whose lives are blighted on a daily basis because of the enormous amount of traffic passing by their window,” he said.
“However there are also huge economic benefits for the whole of West Cornwall if we can achieve a road link with the rest of the country which is fit for the 21st century.
“The Crowlas Bypass Now group has done a great job so far in ensuring that the project is considered for RIS2 funding but it is up against many other, competing projects across the country and it is wonderful that everyone seems to be pulling in the right direction.”
The road from the St Erth roundabout into Penzance that goes through Crowlas is notorious for it’s accidents. Two men were killed in a horrific crash in 2013 whilst last year Hayle biker Mitchell Gilbert lost his life at the junction to St Erth station.
Last January three accidents in as many days along a short stretch of the A30 at Crowlas highlighted why road safety improvements in the area are an urgent priority and mr thomas at the time said it shows why “it is unacceptable to put off carrying out the necessary safety work any longer”.
A study looking at what could be done to make the A30 crossroads in the village safer took place in 2016 and it was expected that work on traffic calming measures would start some time last year.
However, after pressing Highways England, the agency responsible for the country’s major trunk roads, for further details on exactly when the scheme would get underway, Mr Thomas was told that work was unlikely to take place before 2020-21.
“This delay is just not good enough – three accidents in three days at a quiet time of the year show why these relatively inexpensive safety measures should be put in place straightaway,” he said.
“A four-year wait from now (in addition to the many years of past campaigning) to implement a relatively straightforward scheme is a real kick in the teeth for the villagers.
Crowlas remains the only village along the entire length of the A30 which is not bypassed while the school is popular and has grown significantly. Crossing the road to reach it is hazardous in the extreme.”
There was understandable frustration at the meeting last week that these planned road safety improvements works for the existing road along the St Erth to Newtown roundabout are not yet underway.
The A30 at Crowlas is an accident blackspot
Work including traffic signalling at the Rospeath junction in Crowlas and improved signage and new speed limits along the road has been agreed but the meeting heard that changes to the structure of Highways England and in the way that roads projects are processed meant that this work was unlikely to take place for a few more years yet.
Mr Thomas said he would press senior Highways England officials to speed up the assessment work when meeting them this week.
If these efforts proved unproductive, Mr Thomas said he would ask Highways England to consider handing over the project to Cornwall Council. Council officers estimated they could get the work done 12 months earlier than Highways England with whom they have a history of working in partnership.