Forget Wisbech to March rail link and A47 dualling says Melton as he supports campaign for Whittlesey bypass
PUBLISHED: 14:34 06 March 2012 | UPDATED: 14:43 06 March 2012
CAMPAIGNERS were told to forget about the Wisbech to March rail link and dualling of the A47 when council leader Alan Melton threw his weight behind calls for a Whittlesey bypass.
At the business breakfast held today at the Boathouse in Wisbech, organised by this newspaper, Cllr Melton said finance wasn’t available for the rail link and that there are other roads in Cambridgeshire - such as the A14 and A10 - in greater need of improvement.
Cllr Melton said: “Neither of these schemes is likely to be built or come to fruition in the medium term.
“We in Fenland and Cambridgeshire are putting our full weight behind the A605 Whittlesey bypass.
This will relieve capacity between Rings End and Wisbech and provide an alternative to the congested A47 between Wisbech and Thorney when the road is busy or blocked. It will also provide much relief to Whittlesey town centre.
“We can also explore alternative forms of financing for this local but vital scheme.”
With regards to the rail link, Cllr Melton told guests that finance is not available and there are practical difficulties to overcome.
He said: “Assuming the £30million was available to rebuild the line, this would soon prove to be a wild underestimate of the costs involved.
“There is no station and there would need to be an underpass or flyover to cross the A47 (allow for a double cost if the road is duelled).
“There is insufficient capacity along the Peterborough to Cambridge line to handle an increase in traffic and even if capacity was addressed there would be increased costs in signalling and scheduling, involving massive disruption to existing services.”
Cllr Melton said the issue of capacity on the Peterborough to Cambridge line is a top priority of both Cambridgeshire County Council and Fenland District Council, and that improvements to the Ely loop and the building of Chesterton station will provide hope long-term for the reopening of the line.
Cllr Melton said of the A47 dualling campaign: “It is not even on the radar of the Department of Transport. There are greater priorities in Cambridgeshire, including the A14 and the improvements to the A10 between Ely and Cambridge.”