Consultation to be launched over bus lane plans to reduce journey times between Mansfield and Nottingham

Affected motorists will be consulted on plans to create bus lanes along the ‘heavily congested’ A60 corridor between Mansfield and Nottingham before any changes are brought into force.

By Andrew Topping
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:44 am

It follows concerns from both Labour and Conservative councillors at Nottinghamshire Council, with one councillor labelling the idea ‘unbeneficial’ to motorists.

The council’s transport and environment committee reviewed the plans at its latest meeting, with funding for the proposals to come from the Government’s Transforming Cities pot.

Initial plans had suggested bus lanes at three ‘pinch points’ along the busy road, including close to Leapool Island, the junction with the A614 Ollerton Road, where large queues form during rush hours.

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A bus heads south on the A60 away from Leapool island towards Nottingham.

The plans were originally supposed to accompany a park and ride facility off Leapool Island, but councillors were told costs have risen from £2 million to more than £9m.

The scheme, which aimed to get drivers off the roads and onto public transport, will now no longer form part of the plans, although its omission led to concerns bus lanes alone will not provide a solution to easing traffic along the A60.

Council figures suggest journey times between the roundabout and Woodthorpe Road, Daybrook, have risen by three minutes in the past decade, with motorists taking on average 13 minutes to travel this stretch of the road.

The bus lane and park-and-ride proposal were planned to bring this figure down and reduce the number of cars on the carriageway.

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However, councillors said the proposals will not reduce traffic without the park-and-ride and have called for the plans to be rethought.

Coun Michael Payne said: “The original proposal was for the park-and-ride and I always thought getting vehicular traffic off the A60 before it approached Redhill was a sensible proposal.

“Disappointingly, we’ve not ended up there, and have ended up with a drastically-different proposal for bus prioritisation schemes through the A60.

“It’s questionable whether it would have any significant benefit to reducing congestion on the A60 and the fundamental question is, without the park and ride facility, how will bus lanes reduce traffic?”

Coun Chris Barnfather, member for Newstead, raised concerns about the potential bus lanes being empty for the majority of the time and the frustration it could cause for motorists still caught up in congestion.

He said: “There’s nothing more frustrating for a motorist than to sit in a heavily-congested lane, to then look to their left and see an absolutely empty bus lane.

“There is little benefit to that. The benefits here of this scheme are well-outweighed by the disadvantages to the bulk of the motoring public.

“We can now go away and think again, have a look at it, listen to people who are going to be affected by whatever scheme we put in.”

Nottinghamshire Council had originally planned to begin work on the three bus lanes following Wednesday’s meeting.

However, Coun Payne and Coun Neil Clarke, committee chairman, agreed on a change in the recommendation to launch a consultation on the plans.

Members of the committee urged the authority to consult residents and councillors on all divisions and areas that regularly use the A60.