A Sigh of Relief?

Sheffield’s bid to become the grid-lock capital of the UK might just be thwarted today when the long awaited new section of the inner relief road opens.

According to the local council’s web site, the new section of road is just 1.5km long, but has cost a staggering £56 million, the local paper quotes an even higher cost of £65 million.

A glance at the map does suggest that it will bypass many of the worst traffic bottlenecks, so journey times should be reduced. The scheme has been designed around the needs of all the city’s road users, so it incorporates bus lanes as well as diverting large numbers of cars that would have previously created congestion on the city centre’s roads. If all goes to plan, this should be good news for everyone.

Of course this is Sheffield, a city with a council which appears to believe that simply placing inconveniences in the way of motorists will cause them all to abandon their cars and leap enthusiastically onto buses and trams. Consequently the new relief road also incorporates features such as traffic lights to help to help to manage traffic flow/slow those pesky car drivers down.

Public transport is of course a great option for many journeys, but until the system offers both improved journey times and buses, trams and trains that actually connect, without passengers having to trek from one part of town to another, it’s unlikely that many motorists will be persuaded to leave their cars at home.

In the short term, many are predicting a great deal of confusion since many local people seem very unclear about how to find their way around the new system, so there is plenty of potential for motorists to become annoyed and get lost in the days to come, particularly for those who rely on their SAT-NAV systems to find their way around.

In fact the city council has produced a really excellent map that makes this all very clear. Unfortunately for some reason instead of publicising this map’s existence, they have tucked it away on their web site and given it a slightly cryptic name. Which is a shame; because I’m sure that most people would have found this map very helpful today.

The big question is whether the new section of relief road will deliver any real relief to the city’s travellers, or will it just provide us all with interesting new places to view traffic jams?

Links:

Sheffield City Council This news page includes a link to download a map of the new road system. The map isn’t called “map of new relief road”, how obvious that would be! It’s called “traffic management plan” but despite the unhelpful name it shows the new road system complete with one way sections, bus gates, junction numbers , the lot. It’s an excellent document, really clear and highly recommended (by me) – download one for yourself!

The Star Sheffield’s daily paper

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