On Saturday February 28 I had to go from Pontefract to Castleford.
At 1.50pm I was held up at the new traffic lights at the new link road, about 50 metres before the M62 roundabout lights.
As there is nothing yet using the road it seemed absurd, particularly when I could see traffic backing up on the road going into Xscape and traffic from the M62 exit and roundabout gridlocked on the way into Pontefract.
After finally getting through the new lights and the roundabout lights, traffic was nose to tail entering Xscape in two lanes with traffic for Castleford tailing back across the roundabout and going nowhere fast.
Traffic for Pontefract was unable to get off the roundabout before lights changed and the M62 traffic exited, to be then held up at the new lights.
Coming back to Pontefract at 5.15pm, it was even worse. Nothing could move off the M62 roundabout as the new lights were holding up traffic and causing mayhem! Added to this an ambulance then tried to fight its way through. This is on a quiet day. What will it be like on rush hour?
It was obvious the lights were on automatic sequence as they turned red with nothing exiting from the link road – not surprising as it isn’t open yet. Surely these lights should operate only on scanning vehicles actually waiting to exit?
As you drive up Park Road, you then take more notice of the traffic lights waiting to be turned on at Chep. Why are there lights there when Chep has managed perfectly well since opening their depot? These are closely followed by another set of lights only 30 metres before the McDonald’s roundabout. When these two sets of lights are turned on, you can only imagine the congestion it will cause.
For a road that is supposed to ease congestion (Coun Box’s words), this new layout is a farce and ranks with “Jenkins Folly” (the traffic lights at Town End). Park Road will soon become a car park.
If I were cynical (I probably am), I would suggest that the link road was only built to open up land for 900 new houses and the six years of New Homes Bonus that the council will get from central government for building them. Perhaps Coun Box can tell us how much this equates to? After all the £1.48m contribution from the council towards this road has to be paid from somewhere and they are after all completely cash strapped, if we were to believe all that is said.
Is Coun Box now planning to change the name of Pontefract to Royston Vasey, as very soon we will never leave!