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HIGHWAYS AGENCY CLAIMS RESEARCH SHOWS BENEFITS OF NEWBURY BYPASS

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Analysis of the Highways Agency's traffic forecasts on the Newbury bypass has shown the benefits the scheme will br...
Analysis of the Highways Agency's traffic forecasts on the Newbury bypass has shown the benefits the scheme will bring to the town of Newbury, the agency claims.

The Highways Agency says that the key results from the figures show:

-- the bypass will improve the environment along the existing A34, removing up to 30,000 vehicles per day, over 15% of which are heavy goods vehicles

-- the permanent removal of through traffic, particularly lorries, will improve air quality, reduce road noise, dust and vibration and allow other local road users, including cyclists and pedestrians, to travel more safely and easily

-- once the bypass is built, it will be possible for the local planning authority to introduce measures to manage local traffic, for which extensive research is now nearing completion. The actual level of traffic growth in Newbury once the bypass is built will depend on the success of these local traffic management measures

-- the bypass will improve road safety - an estimated 28 lives will be saved and 2000 casualties avoided over the first thirty years of the bypass

-- following guidelines issued after the Standing Committee on Road Traffic Assessment (SACTRA) report, the Highways Agency examined the scope for traffic generation on the Newbury bypass. They found that the scope for encouraging additional traffic was limited - at most less than 10% over the next 15 years

-- in order to further test the cost effectiveness of the scheme, the Highways Agency applied a sensitivity test of 20%.

This assumes that 20% more traffic would be generated over the next 15 years - over twice the amount that the SACTRA guidelines indicated would happen at worst case. Even after this most stringent test, the bypass still provides good value for money when its costs and benefits are compared

-- traffic figures and forecasts have been collected and made available by the Highways Agency since the public consultation in 1982. They were presented at the public inquiries in 1988 and 1992 when it was indicated that the bypass would reduce traffic flows on the existing A34 in Newbury town centre by about 40%

-- figures published last week by Berkshire CC show Newbury's traffic problems continue to get worse with some sections of the A34 showing increases in 1994 on previous years of over seven per cent. At Tothill, the only single carriageway stretch of the A34 from the Midlands to the South Coast ports, the average daily traffic volumes reached over 25,000 vehicles.

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