Halfway through new road journey

Feature of the progress of the A57 road improvement works, pictured with an aerial view photograph are site agent Anja Reid and project manager Neil Foster

Feature of the progress of the A57 road improvement works, pictured with an aerial view photograph are site agent Anja Reid and project manager Neil Foster

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For the thousands of motorists who use the A57 every week, these are interesting times.

Slowly but surely the new stretch of road from Todwick crossroads to the M1 is taking shape.

The new roundabout which will eventually take the place of the crossroads is now clearly visible .

While the dual-carriageway replacing the notorious Todwick bends is cutting a swathe through surrounding fields.

The £14.5m project is now about half way through, with an expected completion date of early next year.

So far there has been relatively litle disruption to A57 traffic, and the main inconvenience has been the closure of Todwick Road, from the crossroads to Dinnington.

It was due to reopen last weekend, but that has been rescheduled for 20th May.

Rotherham council project manager Neil Foster said: “It’s been delayed by the severe winter weather and also because we have decided to do some extra maintenance work further along Todwick Road.”

“We had also planned to close the road again later in the year, but we’re hoping to get more done now so that we minimise the chances of having to do that.”

He said it is the biggest job he has been involved with.

Rotherham council is footing £2.9m of the £14.7m bill for the improvements. The rest is coming from central Government.

The company carrying out the work is Ringway, based at Wath-upon-Dearne, which has 50 men working on site.

Barrie Stephens is the company’s contracts manager. He said: “We have employed a lot of local men and we have also taken on two apprentices.”

“Everything is going to plan at the moment, we haven’t had any major problems. The weather has caused a few hold-ups because we had a lot of rain at the back end of last year and then it was bitterly cold in January.”

“If you carry on in those conditions it can cause more problems later on.”

Barrie said that relations with the local community were good. They talk regularly to the farmers whose land is being used either to make way for the road, or for putting temporary site units on.

They have invited pupils from Todwick Primary School to visit the site. They have also flagged the front of Anston cricket club’s base in return for siting a unit there.

Todwick parish council vice-chairman David Gregory said the roadworks were being well managed and that communication had been good.

He said: “You can’t do a job like that without there being some disruption, and road closures are inevitable.”

“But we’ve been kept informed and kept in the loop.”

The new stretch of road is 1.8km long and the roundabout has a radius of 23m. It will have three lanes and five legs, one specifically for the Red Lion pub.

It will be free flowing, without traffic lights. The new road will rejoin the existing A57 just past the garden centre.