Letter to Editor: The many roads to hell of Harlow

News / Wed 25th Apr 2018 at 05:29pm

Roads 2

Dear Sir,

Road planning here was, is and will be an absolute car crash: well it would be if the cars can actually move out of the gridlock such abysmal planning will create.

Following the ‘success’ of the car park known as Rammell’s Folly, the dualling of the A414 from J7 to the now Hamburger Roundabout cost £51 million and that of making the Clocktower roundabout an exciting game of chance (another £50 million plus) it was no surprise to learn from Robert Halfon’s announcement in his newsletter, that the County Council now proposes to spend another vast amount of public money by putting 4 lanes in to the stretch of the A414 between the two roundabouts: why? it cannot increase traffic flow because at both ends of the stretch of road there are bottlenecks.

Add the cost of J7a and the route along Gilden Way then we have a waste of public money on a vast scale.

To what purpose?

Have planners and county councillors learnt nothing?

Clearly Chelmsford has a cunning plan just like Baldricks’. Alternative explanations seem to be that County actually does not really want Harlow’s development to succeed or perhaps by generating work that is funded in smaller amounts there may be those with undeclared interests in road building companies that might benefit? Such poor planning can’t simply be put down to a lack of competence and vision.

It can do nothing to speed the traffic through because the traffic flowing into town along Second Avenue has nowhere of additional traffic capacity to go. It will be “a better road” as Robert says but not in any sense that will ease traffic congestion: it might be smoother, the current surface middle lane is extremely rough since some vandals funded by County Hall put a thin layer of stone chips over the top of hatched road markings.

This development will cause more than chaos and gridlock because through an equally myopic decision by County to effectively block exit / entrance to the town by simultaneously reducing traffic flow along Gilden Way by not insisting that there is a large buffer zone and lorry delivery area between the road and the development and by widening Edinburgh Way at the same time. Traffic from Church Langley will have no where to go, effectively blocked south north and west. Great planning guys.

The logic County seems to be employing leads us to think that once this measure is seen to fail that the County Council will come up with another brilliantly ingenious plan : to dual Second Avenue and continue into the future along the A1025 to Third Avenue and the Pinnacles: a route that will cut the town in half and do nothing to ease congestion: something that was rejected by town residents years ago,

The plan doesn’t make sense even if the overall idea made any sense: if the chosen development is the A414 then why weren’t the stretches between the Gates Roundabout and Church Langley roundabout made into four lanes when all of the work done recently was being done? (which incidentally, took an inordinate length of time).

It is a well know fact that building more roads generates more traffic, a 70 %+ increase along Gilden Way: building more roads into an area where there is nowhere for the traffic to go, into a bottleneck is even worse.

Add new housing in the area at New Hall and off Gilden Way and Harlow North and you have the perfect storm: plus a major increase in pollution / decrease in air quality from the fumes from gridlocked cars.

Doing nothing within the town boundaries would be better: link up all of the cycle ways would make sense, traffic volume would be self limiting: how to cope?

Robert Halfon supported a brilliant idea that would prevent Harlow North and that side of town grinding to a halt : a Northern by pass, from J7a) instead of ploughing traffic into Gilden Way.

Add to that a southern by pass from J7 to Eastwick A414 and a far better and cost effective scheme in the long run: put access points to the town via “park and ride” centres around what together would be a ring by pass motorway and congestion sorted. Not to mention that such combination would help regionally by providing a much needed additional east west route.

Also, where was the public consultation over the widening of the road and the four lane idea? Must have been buried or whispered : whatever, the process failed and inadequate, just like the whole road transport plan since just after Harlow was built when they managed to build the whole M11 on the wrong side of town!

Kind regards
Edward Vine

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7 Comments for Letter to Editor: The many roads to hell of Harlow:

2018-04-25 18:04:18

Very well put Sir! I hope you feel better now that you've got that off of your chest - as I feel that is the only good it will do. I too am convinced that powers that be in road planning (if there is even such a thing) are major shareholders of road building companies. Regarding the rough surface of the abomination between Saxon Inn (I was born here and will always know it as that) and Clocktower - I'd like to know why the contractors were not called back to do the job properly. Also, the person responsible for signing that work off as acceptable should have been sacked. Ian Moffatt

2018-04-25 18:15:57

Ah Edward, the reference to the M11 being in the wrong place shows you're a man after my own heart. It was supposed to enter the town kinda where Brake Bros is now, so heavy industrial traffic could proceed to the Pinnacles along past Burnt Mill service centre and up to Temple Fields where there would have been another junction to return to the M11, keeping such traffic away from the centre of town. Unfortunately, the Conservative government of the day saw the success of the new towns and thought that a spanner in the works would help enormously and the location of the motorway was changed. Yet another example of the Conservative Party knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing.

2018-04-25 19:04:42

I think that most Harlow residents will agree to the sentiments being expressed by Mr Vine and the two people who have responded so far.. Only today I drove around the roundabout at The Stow, which was only recently resurfaced and it is already evident that this work will not stand the test of time. However, The Harlow Alliance Party would have to disagree with his views about the dualling of second and third Avenues. We do not remember residents ever being asked about such a plan.With the massive expansion of jobs at the Pinnacles in the next few years, the number of people driving from east to west and back will greatly increase. The two roads in question could be dualled without a great deal of disruption to traffic because of the size of the verge adjacent to it. Most of the route is not close to housing so problems of noise would be minimal. As for a southern bypass, well this will never happen if Latton Priory is built because it is on the route that such a bypass would take to link it to junction 7 on the M11. Finally, if the work at "Gates roundabout" which is taking over 2 years to construct (because you hardly ever see someone working there) is anything to go by, roads said to be essential in the Local Plan will take decades to build!

tony edwards
2018-04-25 22:33:51

The Northern Bypass is the obvious answer - unfortunately it will need a considerable amount of Government funding - something Robert Halfon's party have so far refused to fund. In the meantime Essex CC muddle through looking like they are doing something but actually doing very little to address the problem of traffic flow through the town. Incidentally in the 1760's it took approx 2.5 years to construct 15 locks for the Stort Navigation. In the 21st Century it took Essex County Council Ringway Jacobs approximately the same amount of time to enlarge the Mark Hall roundabout. Ahh progress Labour Candidate Toddbrook

2018-04-26 10:34:32

When the proposed traffic calculations were done for the M11 Junction 7A they did not take into account the possible increase caused by traffic from housing in Epping Local Plan. We are told the Northern Bypass is a non starter because of the lack of funding. This is even more reason to object to the Epping Local Plan housing proposals that will encapsulating our town adding more through traffic to that already created by A414 and M11 through traffic. Harlow Alliance Party are the ONLY party in the town that have objected within the time period allowed and have the opportunity to put our towns views at the Planning Enquiry. Alan Leverett Harlow Alliance Party Candidate Toddbrook Ward

2018-04-26 22:46:55

Re Southern by pass: Looking on the map: Latton Priory could easily be avoided. Dualling the A414 up to the Pinnicles would draw more slow moving and therefore heavily polluting traffic into the town. A south plus north by pass ring road around the perimeter with slip roads off and park and ride would be freer flowing and also solve the problems that will arise once Harlow North is built. If, as unfortunately seems likely , most of the 6000 + jobs being created will bring in a more highly skilled workforce from elsewhere then if gridlock is to be avoided, the 6000 extra cars should not be encouraged to come in to or through the town.

2018-04-27 06:08:00

Rumour has it, that the junction for Churchgate Street is going to be blocked, when the new road link to J7a, and the new estate are in operation. What chaos for the whole area due to this ill conceived mad cap idea. Two schools here, plus another on the G Way estate. It's horrific now with the amount of traffic coming through,and let's not forget they want to close Old London Road too.

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