About My Area
Author: John Riches
Published: June 2016 20:09
Ever since the A43 bypass was first constructed round Towcester, the roundabouts where the A5/A43 cross close to Bell Plantation and the Abthorpe turn by McDonalds, have often caused congestion due to the sheer volume of traffic particularly at peak times.
In July 2007 the then West Northamptonshire Development Corporation outlined proposals for the expansion of Towcester that included a new bypass to the town which meant that the A43 and A5 would share the same dual carriageway for a distance of around two miles. This included our Abthorpe roundabout close to McDonalds and as many local people feared that the roads would be unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic, proposals were made for a hamburger roundabout. This consisted of a normal roundabout with light signals for local traffic with the A43 dual carriageway passing straight through. This proposal received a lot of adverse criticism and seems to have disappeared along with the Development Corporation.
In the autumn of 2012 the Highways Agency announced plans to improve the Tove A5/A43 roundabout by Bell Plantation. The agency stated that the junction suffers from congestion particularly at peak travel times that affect not only the A5 and A43 but also local roads leading to delays. That work was completed in the spring of 2015 and involved providing new lanes through the junction and installing traffic signals. Was the scheme successful in preventing huge tail-backs at peak times? Answer NO!
Some of our local councillors have argued that the traffic congestion was now worse due to poor synchronisation of traffic lights. Almost daily now huge tail backs of traffic trying to get through the A5/A43 roundabout stretch back way beyond our Abthorpe roundabout and on towards Silverstone. Locals trying to cross from Towcester to the Upper Tove Valley road are frequently delayed and frustrated. The work to improve this so called Abthorpe roundabout began in January and is scheduled to be completed in 16 months.
Will these new works improve traffic flows is a question often asked locally? As these new works are so similar to those on the A5/A43 roundabout many local people argue that until flyovers are constructed there will be little improvement. But we live in hope.