Public transport helps ease traffic disruption – and City Council asks Highways England to do more

The closure of the A52 at Clifton Bridge for Highways England work is funnelling an extra 15,000 southbound vehicles a day over Nottingham’s remaining two bridges, latest figures show.

The incident has also led to a rise in the number of people opting to use the tram – with a 21% increase in journeys from the Park & Ride sites at Clifton and Toton.

Analysis of traffic flows by Nottingham City Council show that the average daily flow of southbound traffic over Lady Bay Bridge and Trent Bridge – heading in the same direction as the closed lanes on the A52 – increased from 36,000 vehicles before the closure to 52,000 after, or 44%. The biggest increase on a single day came on Sunday 9th February, with a rise of 77% more vehicles than usual.

The figures show the scale of pressure placed on Nottingham’s road network by this unprecedented incident. Now the City Council is asking Highways England to consider funding a range of options to alleviate the impact of the work on the city’s road network. The council has put forward proposals including:

  • Temporary park & ride options
  • Extra signs including electronic signs on the M1 and major approach routes, advising alternative routes and public transport options
  • Special offers to promote public transport
  • Additional travel planning with major employers and for events
  • Ongoing support for police presence to keep key junctions clear – as well as introducing yellow box lining and bus/tram gates on some junctions.

Figures show public transport has come to many people’s rescue, with trams and buses given priority over other traffic.

The whole of Nottingham’s tram network saw 393,500 trips in the week commending 10th February – that’s 8,000 more trips overall than the previous week and 19,000 more trips than the same week in 2019. There was an increase of 1,800 journeys and 2,000 journeys from Clifton and Toton respectively – an average increase of 21.5% compared to before the closure of Clifton Bridge.

Portfolio Holder for Transport, Cllr Adele Williams, said: “The closure by Highways England of the A52 at Clifton Bridge – Nottingham’s busiest stretch of road – has caused significant difficulties for people getting around the city.

“I am disappointed that Highways England now estimate the bridge won’t fully re-open until the end of the year. We’ve asked them to give us daily updates on the progress of repairs and to reassure us that the maximum possible resource is being dedicated to getting their bridge back in action. We know what this is costing us as a council and what it has meant for our citizens’ daily lives. Every day that their bridge isn’t fully open is costing Nottingham businesses and families time and money.

“These latest figures show just how much pressure our road network has been placed under as people try to find alternative routes in their cars. We are calling on Highways England to consider a range of options that would help alleviate the huge impact this their work is having on people trying to get in and around Nottingham.

“These figures also show is that we are fortunate in Nottingham to have one of the best public transport systems in the country, which has really come into its own to keep Nottingham moving. The situation would have been significantly worse if we hadn’t invested in trams, buses and cycle routes to give people a decent alternative to the car. I would urge people to use public transport to get around the city and I hope Highways England will help encourage this during the current disruption.”

People are particularly encouraged to consider using Park & Ride site such as Toton and Clifton, leaving cars on the outskirts of the city. All travel options and a journey planner can be found at www.transportnottingham.com.  

The City Council is continuing to:

  • Monitor the roads and traffic signals from its traffic control centre and make adjustments where possible to help traffic flow
  • Work with Nottinghamshire Police on the ground to keep traffic flowing at key junctions, particularly trams and buses   
  • Encourage people to think about using public transport including park & ride for journeys where they can
  • Non-essential roadworks had been suspended but some works are being allowed back in on a case-by-case basis, off-peak and with minimal disruption wherever possible, and kept under review.

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