Traffic issues in Newark
The district council is keenly aware of the ongoing problems of traffic congestion in and around Newark and is working closely with Nottinghamshire County Council (the highways authority for the county) and Highways England (which manages the trunk road network e.g. the A1 and the A46) to address matters.
While fatal and serious accidents on the A1 and the A46 can quickly cause frequent delays, and there have been a number of these recently, one of the main problems is the capacity of the A1/A46/A17 interchanges in coping with the volume of traffic at afternoon/evening peaks, particularly on a Friday. This has knock-on effects on the A46/Great North Road/A616/A617 Cattle Market roundabout, especially when the Nottingham to Lincoln rail line crossing barriers are closed at the Castle Station.
Both the district and county councils have long recognised that these junctions and the congestion they cause need to be addressed to help promote economic growth in Newark. Because of this a large amount (£4.5m) of the developer tax which the district council collects (called the Community Infrastructure Levy or CIL) has been earmarked for improvements to these junctions and the bypass.
Since then, however, traffic concerns have increased and it has been shown that the majority of traffic using the A46 around Newark is through traffic, i.e. going north to Lincoln or south to the Leicester or Nottingham. Therefore, the district and county councils and Newark MP Robert Jenrick have lobbied the government, setting out that the impact of traffic problems in and around the town are not only a local concern, but one that affects the strategic road network.
In December 2014 the government announced a Road Investment Strategy for the strategic road network. For Newark it states:
“A46 Newark northern bypass – widening of the A46 north of Newark to dual carriageway, raising the last section of the A46 between the A1 and M1 to Expressway standard. Improvement of the A46/A1 junction to allow for better traffic movement to Newark and Lincoln.”
Work has now begun on planning this major infrastructure improvement and it is proposed that actual work will begin in the 2020-2025 period.
Newark residents will also benefit from the construction of the Newark Southern Link Road (SLR) which will link the A46 south of Farndon to the A1 at Fernwood, allowing alternative access into and around the town. This is being built by Urban and Civic to support their development on land south of Newark. A loan of £11.2m from the Homes and Communities Agency and grants by D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (of £7m) and the district council (£2.5m) will help fund the building of the SLR over the next three years.