Letter: I suspect negatives will outweigh any positives of road
A reader debates the merits of building the North West Relief Road.
To try and understand whether it is worth building the North West Relief Road, it is helpful to imagine that it has just been opened. Using the information available now what would be different?
The benefit most promoted has always been that it would “reduce traffic in the town centre”. On day one people would see there was no effect on traffic in the River Loop except a reduction in the peak of 27 per cent on Smithfied Road.
The other claim is that it would reduce rat running through the villages NW of the town. No doubt people will have tried the NWRR but will have found it to be only a couple of minutes quicker and will already be wondering if it is worth it.
Back in town it will be obvious that the change in traffic volumes by the station is not enough to improve the awful air quality there by very much.
While this is becoming clear, those lucky enough to be out walking to the NW will find their enjoyment completely spoilt by the high level noisy new road. If they think for a moment about the environmental damage they will realise that no mitigation measures will have made up for the colossal impact. Some people living near the road will have their fears confirmed about noise and as often happens with traffic others who thought they wouldn’t hear it find that they can.
Seeing that the claims made are not being realised will make some look more deeply at what else the road was supposed to do. Assertions about supporting economic growth, network resilience, social value and supporting the Big Town Plan sound good but it will quickly be realised that the road wasn’t needed for these or the effect is at best minimal.
Amongst the vast number of the disappointed will be the few happy people who do find the road helpful. Getting to Battlefield from Bicton is easier and a few will note the marginal improvement on Smithfield Road but as is always the case they will eventually find the old route will fill up again. These happy people may not feel so good when they remember the cost, the amount the council had to find and the other things throughout Shropshire for which there is now no money.
Frank Oldaker, Shrewsbury