Take the two most explosive issues in Aylesbury Vale and combine them – just remember to stand well back.
Should it go ahead, HS2’s construction, predicted to take eight years from 2017, will undoubtedly add to the daily misery motorists already experience on the roads.
Government agency HS2 Ltd admits traffic jams will be caused by additional vehicles on the roads coming and going from construction compounds and from diversions causing longer journeys and delays (see factbox below).
And the really bad news?
By 2021, when construction should be well underway, the government predicts that Aylesbury’s roads will already be up to 19% busier than current levels and that figure rises to 32% by the first year of HS2’s operation in 2026 – so even without the scheme, the future looks bleak for motorists in the town.
After it is built, HS2’s impact will still be felt through the numerous roads which have been realigned to accomodate the track.
The most obvious example is the Stoke Mandeville bypass, which will at least reduce congestion in the village centre. But the track will sever Risborough Road, making it a dead end and giving residents there a much longer drive to get into the village or Aylesbury.
Bucks County Council is demanding that the government do all it can to minimise disruption on our roads.
In its Blueprint for HS2 document, the council says: “We are concerned that during both the construction and operation phase of HS2, there will be negative and potentially prolonged impacts on both transport users and the transport network across Buckinghamshire. We also have significant concerns about possible road and junction realignments or changes that are included within the proposals and may present safety or access issues during the construction period.”
The council says ‘roads across Aylesbury and Stoke Mandeville are increasingly congested as a consequence of development’ and HS2 ‘construction traffic impacts around and through the town are likely to be severe’.
County Hall transport bosses were in talks with HS2 Ltd over the building of a Waddesdon bypass but these talks collapsed.
However, they are likely to be ressurected when HS2 goes on trial in front of a committee of ‘neutral’ MPs in the spring – alongside a host of other mitigation demands.
HS2 Ltd lists a number of ways it will try to minimise disruption.
> Transporting construction materials whenever possible on special haul routes alongside the track, rather than roads.
> Routeing HGVs on main roads wherever possible.
> Keeping open the majority of roads crossing the track to reduce diversions.
> Reducing daily travel by site workers by providing on sire accomodation and welfare facilities. Staff will also be encouraged to car share.
> Construction shifts will also be timed so that staff are not making journeys during rush hours.
Aside from motorists, HS2 Ltd admits the scheme will also affect other transport users and pedestrians during its construction.
More traffic and the frequent passing of HGVs will make it more tricky for people to cross the road.
There will also be longer bus journeys and disruption to the Aylesbury-Risborough train line while it is realigned when replacement services will be offered.
> AYLESBURY AREA JUNCTIONS WHERE THERE WILL BE ‘MAJOR’ OR ‘MODERATE’ ADVERSE EFFECTS DURING CONSTRUCTION
Major: A418 Oxford Road junctions with Coldharbour Way, Ellen Road, Churchill Avenue, Fowler Road, Gatehouse Road and Friarage Road.
Moderate: A41 Bicester Road junctions with Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Jackson Road, Dickins Way, Rabans Lane, Meadowcroft, Broadfields, Griffin Lane, Weedon Road and Gatehouse Road.
> STOKE MANDEVILLE BYPASS
Will be located off Risborough Road just after North Lee Lane turning and reconnect on Lower Road north of the village. ‘Stopping up’ of A4010 Risborough Road, Marsh Lane and Old Risborough Road will cause delay for users of these roads due to additional travel distance (4.8km, 3km and 4.8km diversions respectively)to the bypass. This will also have a major impact on the 300 and 321 bus services. There will be a ‘moderate beneficial effect’ on congestion at the Risborough Road/ Lower Road junction. It will also remove traffic from centre of Stoke Mandeville.
WENDOVER AREA JUNCTIONS WHERE THERE WILL BE ‘MAJOR’ OR ‘MODERATE’ ADVERSE EFFECTS DURING CONSTRUCTION
Major: A4010 Risborough Road with B4009 Nash Lee Road, A413 Nash Lee Road with Small Dean Lane, A413 London Road with Rocky Lane, Dunsmore Lane and Bowood Lane.
Moderate: A413 Nash Lee Road with B4009 Nash Lee Road.
WENDOVER AREA ROAD CLOSURES DURING CONSTRUCTION
Bacombe Lane requring a 1.5km diversion (lasts one year).
Small Dean Lane requiring a 2.7km diversion (lasts nine months).
WADDESDON AREA JUNCTIONS WHERE WILL BE ‘MAJOR’ OR ‘MODERATE’ ADVERSE EFFECTS DURING CONSTRUCTION
Major: A41 Akeman Road with Station Road, A41 Bicester Road with Blackgrove Road and Waddesdon Hill.
Moderate: Grendon Road with Edgcott Road and Marsh Gibbon Road, Edgcott Road with Main Street and The Broadway, Perry Hill with Buckingham Road and Lawn Hill.
WADDESDON AREA PERMANENT ROAD CLOSURES
Station Road requiring 2.5km diversion.
Waddesdon Hill requiring 2.5km diversion.
CLAYDON AREA JUNCTIONS WHERE THERE WILL BE ‘MODERATE’ ADVERSE EFFECTS DURING CONSTRUCTION
Moderate: A421 with A4421 and Sandpit Hill. Perry Hill with School Hill.
INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE DEPOT IMPACT
Workers commuting to and from Calvert IMD will increase off-peak traffic by adding more than 30% to traffic, particularly affecting pedestrians trying to cross local roads.
CONSTRUCTION COMPOUNDS WITH HIGH TWO-WAY DAILY HGV MOVEMENTS DURING PEAK TIMES
Bicester Road, Waddesdon: Up to 380.
Calvert: Up to 1,240.
Oxford Road, near Fairford Leys: 730.
HS2 LTD’S DEFINITIONS
Major adverse impact: Where traffic flows will be near or above capacity and the impact on traffic due to the scheme will regularly substantially increase queues and delays at peak times.
Moderate: Traffic already approaching capacity and scheme will increase frequency of queues and substantial delays.
Source: HS2 Ltd community forum area reports, Nov 2013.