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Roads

Volume 641: debated on Sunday 7 May 1961

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Colchester By-Pass

23.

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he has for the improvement of road safety on the Colchester by-pass, with particular reference to the entrance to Arclight Works.

Our engineers are discussing this problem with the management of the Arclight Works and the Borough Council.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Would not he agree that it is an alarming situation when there are 900 men pouring out on to an unrestricted road? Will he give this matter close attention and, see that action is taken at an early date?

We are fully aware of the problem outside these works. A similar problem is encountered in a great many other places where a large number of people are leaving or arriving at work almost simultaneously, but we will certainly go on trying to find a solution in this case.

Carriageway Markings

29.

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that lane markings and directional arrows painted on the roadway are more prevalent in Scotland and the North of England than they are in the South of England, especially the London area; and, as they have proved their advantages as a guide to traffic, if he will speed up their provision all over the country.

These carriageway markings are already in general use on trunk roads throughout the country. In the London Traffic Area for which my right hon. Friend is the traffic authority we intend to increase their use wherever it is practicable and advantageous.

As regards other roads, we have no evidence that local highway authorities in the South of England are lagging behind those in the North and in Scotland in the application of the markings.

Whether or not there is any evidence in the Department, there is plenty of evidence on the roads that we are lagging behind in this problem in the South compared with the North and also compared with abroad. Will my hon. Friend try to speed up the provision of these markings, because they are an invaluable help in directing traffic to the right lines?

I am sorry, but I must disagree with my hon. Friend. I have asked for an inquiry to be made. The use of carriageway markings is fairly uniform over the country and there is no evidence to show that in the North or in Scotland they are more generally used than in the South. I think hon. Members will agree that their use is extending rapidly throughout the country.

King's Lynn By-Pass

30.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will now state in which year it will be possible for work to start in connection with the King's Lynn by-pass.

As my hon. Friend will know, we were unable to include the classified road section of this by-pass in the three-year programme which we announced recently. I cannot at present say when it will be possible to authorise this scheme or the trunk road section to the south.

Will my hon. Friend take particular note of the reports which must be reaching him, and to which I have drawn his attention, of very great congestion in the town of King's Lynn? In case he thinks that this is a question only of holiday traffic, will he bear in mind that for many days of the week industrial and commercial traffic in the town is paralysed? As the Norfolk County Council is anxious to include one section of the road in its programme, will he give sanction for it at the earliest possible moment?

We shall give sanction to it as soon as we practically can, but I should emphasise to my hon. Friend that we have now agreed on a grant of £91,000 in 1962–63 for the railway-road extension scheme in King's Lynn, which I think he agreed some time ago should be the first of the routes to be dealt with in this area.

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that in recent weeks this area in King's Lynn has had the unenviable record of having 7 miles or more of stationary traffic on its roads? Norfolk County Council for many years has pressed the importance of this bypass which has now become an urgent necessity. Is it not time we had some action in this connection? We welcome people to Norfolk, but do not want them to have to stay in their cars all day long because we want them to come back again.

I think the fact that there are so many cars shows that the welcome is being responded to cordially.

Parking Meters, London

31.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement of his present policy regarding the use of parking meters in London.

Parking meters have made a large contribution towards solving the traffic problems of central London. There are already 5,380 meters there and there will be nearly 6,300 by July. I expect a number of other areas to be metered by the end of 1961.

Outside the central area, I welcome the initiative of Woolwich and Croydon in introducing parking meters. I hope that other local authorities—outside as well as inside the central area—will soon follow their example.

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that many of these parking meters are allied to traffic wardens. Will he make a comment on the statement of magistrates in London that there is a state of chaos in the courts because of the present set-up? Does he contemplate the traffic warden situation alongside parking meters as a system which has to go on?

The hon. Member has put down a series of Questions about traffic wardens to the Home Office. I hope that he will direct his inquiries there, because this comes under the jurisdiction of the Home Office.

As the Minister was himself responsible for the Bill which was introduced about traffic wardens and parking meters, providing that traffic wardens must be there, he should not push me off on to the Home Secretary. That is the oldest trick in the world.

Wrexham (By-Pass)

38.

asked the Minister of Transport what plans have been made for the construction of a road by-passing Wrexham and the industrial villages of the area, thus relieving the traffic on the dangerous stretch of the A.483 between Pulford and Whitehurst; and whether he will make a statement.

An Order laying down the line of a by-pass for Wrexham and Ruabon was made in April, 1958. Proposals for a new line further north are under consideration.

While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask him whether he is aware that A.483 between Pulford and Whitehurst has been black-listed by the A.A. for its bad accident record? Is he also aware that in the past six years there have been 1,156 accidents on that section of the road, 19 of which have been fatal? Is the Minister further aware that certain widening schemes along this road are increasing the danger at well-known dangerous bottlenecks?

We are well aware of some of these facts. I ought to point out that before we can proceed with improvements to this road and with the building of a new road there, we shall have to go through the statutory processes that are laid upon us by Parliament, and the provision of the land for the new road north of Ruabon is one of the things we have to do. That we are getting on with now.