A £1.9 million road improvement scheme which could alleviate a congestion bottleneck for motorists has been branded a “drop in the ocean” by a councillor.
Catcliffe Parish Council chairman Cllr Darren Hughes welcomed the Highways Agency’s announcement that work would get underway in 2014 to widen the M1 slip roads at junction 33 from two to three lanes in a bid to improve traffic flow in the Catcliffe and Waverley area.
The work comes as part of a series of ten improvement schemes nationwide announced on Monday — costing a total of £32.4 million.
But Cllr Hughes believes that the scheme will not address the serious congestion problems his constituents are about to face.
He said: “Clearly any scheme that alleviates congestion on the M1 and the Sheffield Parkway has to be welcomed but for the people of Catcliffe there are other issues to worry about. This scheme really amounts to a drop in the ocean.
“Thousands of new homes are being built as part of the regeneration of the Waverley site but the link road proposed to give access to that area has been locked in a state of stalemate for some time with no real resolution in sight.
“There’s a real fear that traffic problems are going to become a real problem for Catcliffe residents in the coming years.”
Building work began on the 700 acre former colliery site at Waverley last month.
The reclaimed land will deliver 4,000 new homes to the area within the next 20 years.
Plans to improve access to the new development through the creation of a link road between the B6066 and Retford Road were met with fierce opposition from residents in Woodhouse who objected to plans for it to cut through existing playing fields.
A preservation order was eventually placed on the fields, effectively stopping the planned road from being built.
Cllr Hughes said: “I met with Sheffield MP Clive Betts to see if there was any way a compromise could be reached but as yet there is no resolution.”
The improvements for the M1 motorway announced this week will start in 2014 and finish the following year.
They will include the widening of the M1’s exit slip roads to three lanes and the creation of three lanes on the bridge crossing the motorway.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These improvements prove the government’s determination to accelerate growth and cut congestion.
“Keeping traffic moving is vital to securing prosperity. By removing bottlenecks and improving access to local enterprise zones, key international trading ports and communities, these road schemes will help get people to and from work and power the economy.”