Cry for ‘permanent solution’ to traffic hell on ‘worst road in Derbyshire’

Chesterfield politicians, businesses and residents have come together to demand action on a major route into town blighted by ‘traffic hell’ due to ‘non-stop’ congestion and roadworks.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 10:12 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 11:15 am
The latest raft of roadworks will see St Augustines closed one way and then both ways for up to ten weeks.

Calls have been made for a permanent solution to heavy traffic on A61 Derby Road, said to be one of the ‘most constrained and congested’ routes in the East Midlands.

The latest raft of roadworks at the problematic spot will see St Augustines Road, which shares a busy junction with the A61, close one-way and then both ways for up to 10 weeks – likely causing further delays.

MP for North East Derbyshire Lee Rowley has already spoken in Parliament about ‘problems that have been a decade in the making’ on Derby Road, which cuts through his constituency.

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Following calls from residents south of Chesterfield to tackle congestion, Lee Rowley MP organised a visit to Derby Road with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to find out what could be done to help.

He said: “I’m really concerned about the number of roadworks on the A61.

“I understand that they are necessary to improve the road in the long-term but they are making things extremely difficult for road users now.

“We need to really think about how we can sort out the congestion problems on this already far-too-busy road.”

Jenny Flood, Chesterfield borough councillor for Rother ward, said: “A key issue with these latest roadworks on St Augustines Road is that drivers may try to take shortcuts through rat runs around the Derby Road area, rather than making use of any diversions that have been put in place.

A61 notice of roadworks sign.

“The roads on these estates are already full of potholes, for the simple reason they weren’t made to accommodate heavy traffic.

“While residents understand maintenance must be carried out, they’re sceptical that these roadworks will serve as a permanent solution.

“Another matter is heavy pollution. Derby Road is already a health-deprived area due to previous industry, and the traffic can only add to that.

“The safety of residents is paramount - there are also schools along the route, such as Spire Juniors, where children are crossing the road daily. We’ve been working to secure a meeting with Derbyshire County Council so we can hopefully come up with a long-term solution.”

Mark Rothman, owner of Spire Funeral Services on St Augustines Road, said: “These new roadworks, which will widen St Augustines and see new traffic lights installed on the junction with A61, are definitely needed in my view.

“We’re a 24/7, seven days a week business, and have had assurances from the council that it won’t impact us.

“I’d welcome any improvements to Derby Road. It can be a nightmare just crossing the road.”

One resident, Jason Cartwright, branded the A61 as the ‘worst road in Derbyshire’.

Another resident, Diane Reilly said: “Derby Road must be the most dug up road in the county.

“I’m fed up of temporary traffic lights and mud everywhere.”