Decision into A57 within five months

A57 Todwick Crossroads.
A57 Todwick Crossroads.

After years of waiting and campaigning a decision on the alterations to the A57 at Todwick crossroads will be made within five months.

A public inquiry into Rotherham Council’s plans to revamp the one mile stretch of road between junction 31 of the M1 and the crossroads has now ended.

The independent inspector who chaired the inquiry, Martin Whitehead, told the inquiry he would submit his report to the Secretary of State for Transport within 14 days.

And this week the Department of Transport said it would issue a decision from the Secretary of State within the next 20 months.

If the plans are given the green light then Rotherham Council hopes to start work on 1st August next year. They hope the work will be completed by December 2013.

Last year the Government pledged £11.8 million to the scheme, with the council set to pay the additional £2.9 million.

The latest scheme would see a dual carriageway from the M1 junction to the crossroads - which would be replaced by a roundabout - and a new 50mph speed limit introduced. It was given planning permission in August when the government decided not to call in the plans.

The inquiry examined two elements of the proposed scheme - compulsory purchase orders and side roads orders.

The main concern of objectors is that under the plans drivers will no longer be able to turn right into Goosecarr Lane, sending more traffic through the village.

Anyone wanting to turn right onto Goosecarr Lane would either have to go around the new roundabout and turn left into the lane or drive through the village, past a primary school.

Jack Cloke, of the A57 Action Group, told the inquiry that if the A57 gets blocked by an accident then emergency vehicles would struggle to get through without the right turn.

He felt that the “deviation could be the difference between saving a life and losing a life.”

He said: “During my police career there were two occasions where we had to extricate two people from the car when it was on fire.”

“It’s a serious business and every second counts.”

“Both stories had a happy ending but a lot of them don’t.”

“No reason has been given for the loss off the right turn onto Goosecarr Lane other than cost effectiveness.”

Patrick Hamlin, representing Rotherham Council said that emergency services had seen the plans and agreed to them.

“Unless something radical is done then these accidents will continue but if something radical is done then these would end,” he added.

Mr Hamlin said if a right turn was included in the scheme then it would significantly reduce the economic benefit of it, and it was unlikely that DfT would provide funding if it was included.

To include the right turn would increase the cost of the scheme by £300,000, he added.

The inquiry heard that in the last 10 years there had been a hundred accidents on the stretch of road - claiming the lives of 10 people, seriously injuring 26 people and slightly injuring 144 others.

A DfT spokesman said: “We have yet to receive the report from the independent inspector.”

“Once we receive that we would then endeavour to issue a decision within 20 weeks.”