We’d be in utter chaos without it

First published in Letters by

TODAY is the 25th anniversary of the official opening of the complete outer ring road by the then Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon Paul Channon MP. In the Yorkshire Evening Press special supplement the following day, glowing headlines included “Missing link is a dream come true”, “The route to success”, “Industrial Estates: New lease of life”.

As someone involved in the County Council team which planned, designed and constructed the road, and resident in Haxby for nearly 40 years, I have lived for these past 25 years with the endless criticisms and complaints in The Press.

My response to those people over the years who know of my involvement in the project and challenge me about its shortcomings is: “Try and imagine what traffic conditions within and around the city centre would be like without it.”

Roger King, Briergate, Haxby, York.

Comments (6)

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5:30pm Tue 11 Dec 12

ak7274 says...

Try to imagine life with it, had it been constructed the way the public had wanted it to built.

If only we could learn from history.
Try to imagine life with it, had it been constructed the way the public had wanted it to built. If only we could learn from history. ak7274
  • Score: 0

10:44pm Tue 11 Dec 12

PKH says...

My father was a Ryedale Councillor at the time, he and a number of other Ryedale Councillors said at the planning stage, what was required was a dualled road with proper interchanges. But DfT with NYCC agreeing said a single carriageway would be sufficient for projected traffic levels. The local councillors were proved right very very quickly.
My father was a Ryedale Councillor at the time, he and a number of other Ryedale Councillors said at the planning stage, what was required was a dualled road with proper interchanges. But DfT with NYCC agreeing said a single carriageway would be sufficient for projected traffic levels. The local councillors were proved right very very quickly. PKH
  • Score: 0

8:33am Wed 12 Dec 12

pedalling paul says...

Neither the DfT or NYCC could afford to fund anything more grandiose. An if it ever was dualled, the so-called benefits would only last for a few years.
Neither the DfT or NYCC could afford to fund anything more grandiose. An if it ever was dualled, the so-called benefits would only last for a few years. pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

10:01am Thu 13 Dec 12

old_geezer says...

PP's right about dualling, but it's the at-grade roundabouts that cause such problems. Look at the A19/A1237 crossing - two "improvements" in the last decade, and it's still at a standstill every day from 4 to 5pm.

Then the twin puzzles - everyone who lives in Harrogate seems to work in York and vice versa, and ditto with Selby!
PP's right about dualling, but it's the at-grade roundabouts that cause such problems. Look at the A19/A1237 crossing - two "improvements" in the last decade, and it's still at a standstill every day from 4 to 5pm. Then the twin puzzles - everyone who lives in Harrogate seems to work in York and vice versa, and ditto with Selby! old_geezer
  • Score: 0

4:24am Fri 14 Dec 12

Magicman! says...

The simple problem is that the A1237 was not futureproofed. It was built to current traffic levels at the time and was not built to encounter any supressed demand. By roughly 2 years after it opened it was already at its stated capacity. Now whilst you can say that shows the road building itself was a success, it also shows how unbelievably out of line traffic projections for the road was when compared to real traffic levels.

Currently every afternoon we end up with not just the A1237 clogged up as a linear car park, but every single road feeding into or running parallel to it also becoming clogged with traffic (including Water End and Wigginton Road), with a lot of traffic using the city centre to bypass the A1237.... now whatever your viewpoint is on the A1237, you cannot deny that something has gone drastically wrong when people are using the city centre to bypass the bypass!!!

As a city we simply cannot continue with the A1237 and its roundabouts for another 10 years, let alone 25. Every junction from the A59 to Haxby at least needs to be grade-seperated with flyovers - however a properly forward thinking council taking into account the current supressed demand in the shape of all the cars going through the city centre would have GSJ's at every junction currently, with a freeflow junction at Askham Bryan/Copmanthorpe and another full freeflow at Hopgrove... the Hopgrove one would get rid of the smaller roundabout and all A1036 traffic directed around the back of Monks Cross Asda and onto the A1237 via a trumpet shaped junction... then another trumpet shaped junction would replace the big roundabout at Hopgrove with a freeflow whereby the A64 from Malton is dualled for at least 1 mile whereby lane 1 is allocated for York A1237 traffic only, becoming a lane drop at Hopgrove whilst the lane of traffic from the A1237 to Leeds becomes the lane gain to form the new lane 1 of the A64... whilst lane 1 of the eastbound A1237 would form a lane drop onto the eastbound A64, which would be dualled for at least 1 mile after Hopgrove, but lanes 1 and 2 seperated by temporary concrete barriers until the HA finally realises the rest of the A64 to malton needs to be dualled - but the end of the 1 mile dualling would have the only set of traffic lights on the entire junction (that 1 mile allowing enough space for traffic tailbacks on summer saturdays).

And then in the grander scheme of things we'd be looking at partially dualling the A59 towards the A1(M) so as to create a partial freeflow from the A1237 onto the A59... remembering this is the official diversion route if the A1(M) is closed anywhere between the A64 junction and the A59 junction, and just how much traffic the route would be handling in case of a diversion.
The simple problem is that the A1237 was not futureproofed. It was built to current traffic levels at the time and was not built to encounter any supressed demand. By roughly 2 years after it opened it was already at its stated capacity. Now whilst you can say that shows the road building itself was a success, it also shows how unbelievably out of line traffic projections for the road was when compared to real traffic levels. Currently every afternoon we end up with not just the A1237 clogged up as a linear car park, but every single road feeding into or running parallel to it also becoming clogged with traffic (including Water End and Wigginton Road), with a lot of traffic using the city centre to bypass the A1237.... now whatever your viewpoint is on the A1237, you cannot deny that something has gone drastically wrong when people are using the city centre to bypass the bypass!!! As a city we simply cannot continue with the A1237 and its roundabouts for another 10 years, let alone 25. Every junction from the A59 to Haxby at least needs to be grade-seperated with flyovers - however a properly forward thinking council taking into account the current supressed demand in the shape of all the cars going through the city centre would have GSJ's at every junction currently, with a freeflow junction at Askham Bryan/Copmanthorpe and another full freeflow at Hopgrove... the Hopgrove one would get rid of the smaller roundabout and all A1036 traffic directed around the back of Monks Cross Asda and onto the A1237 via a trumpet shaped junction... then another trumpet shaped junction would replace the big roundabout at Hopgrove with a freeflow whereby the A64 from Malton is dualled for at least 1 mile whereby lane 1 is allocated for York A1237 traffic only, becoming a lane drop at Hopgrove whilst the lane of traffic from the A1237 to Leeds becomes the lane gain to form the new lane 1 of the A64... whilst lane 1 of the eastbound A1237 would form a lane drop onto the eastbound A64, which would be dualled for at least 1 mile after Hopgrove, but lanes 1 and 2 seperated by temporary concrete barriers until the HA finally realises the rest of the A64 to malton needs to be dualled - but the end of the 1 mile dualling would have the only set of traffic lights on the entire junction (that 1 mile allowing enough space for traffic tailbacks on summer saturdays). And then in the grander scheme of things we'd be looking at partially dualling the A59 towards the A1(M) so as to create a partial freeflow from the A1237 onto the A59... remembering this is the official diversion route if the A1(M) is closed anywhere between the A64 junction and the A59 junction, and just how much traffic the route would be handling in case of a diversion. Magicman!
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Sat 15 Dec 12

yorkshirelad says...

Sounds like a case of more, more, more...gimme more roadspace...and then more.

Taking a much wider view...it looks like building more and more roads actually isn't the answer. Ultimately, a far more productive balance of roadspace vs public transport vs walking/cycling provision is the only thing that will get the roads flowing again.

Until then, the biggest losers will be people that depend on free-flowing roads for a living or for just getting about. There is some irony that these are sometimes the people that oppose public transport, walking and cycling initiatives.

If people that want to and can get about by more space-efficient means (public transport/walking/cy
cling) are provided with the facilities to do so, the roads will be less congested for those for whom these methods aren't feasible.

Trying to build our way out of this mess is doomed to failure even if we could afford it.
Sounds like a case of more, more, more...gimme more roadspace...and then more. Taking a much wider view...it looks like building more and more roads actually isn't the answer. Ultimately, a far more productive balance of roadspace vs public transport vs walking/cycling provision is the only thing that will get the roads flowing again. Until then, the biggest losers will be people that depend on free-flowing roads for a living or for just getting about. There is some irony that these are sometimes the people that oppose public transport, walking and cycling initiatives. If people that want to and can get about by more space-efficient means (public transport/walking/cy cling) are provided with the facilities to do so, the roads will be less congested for those for whom these methods aren't feasible. Trying to build our way out of this mess is doomed to failure even if we could afford it. yorkshirelad
  • Score: 0

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