Community groups are wrong to believe a relief road is a silver bullet to Langley and Colnbrook congestion

Rather than being a “silver bullet”, a north-south relief road is likely to make congestion worse by attracting motorway traffic and allowing Iver’s HGVs to divert onto Slough roads says Slough Borough Council.

A new relief road built to modern standards would act as a draw to traffic when the motorways are congested and see Langley and Colnbrook flooded with traffic.

A new relief road built to modern standards would act as a draw to traffic when the motorways are congested and see Langley and Colnbrook flooded with traffic.

Slough Borough Council says it will not support a new relief road to replace Hollow Hill/Mansion Lane when it is permanently closed by the Western Rail Access to Heathrow because, rather than resolving congestion in Langley and Colnbrook, it would actually make congestion far worse.

The comments are made in a report to the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, which meets on Tuesday evening (17th January), prepared by Masum Choudhury, the Council’s Transport Strategy Team Leader.

The report says that a relief road would not work because there would be no way of addressing localised issues without enabling a through route for all traffic wanting to avoid congestion on the M25/M4.  Any new road would legally have to be built to modern specifications – and capacity – which would only create a draw.

… greater capacity and flow attracts greater volumes of traffic, this would only serve to compound the issues in Slough and Langley

There is also something of a ticking off for community groups that have seized on the idea as the answer to all congestion problems, particular as the pain from the temporary closure of Hollow Hill Lane has converged with the clamour for an HGV relief road in Iver.

A relief road would allow trucks from Iver’s HGV bases to move freely throughout Slough roads, Choudhury says.  The solution proposed for Iver’s problems, he concludes, is not compatible with addressing current congestion levels faced in Langley and Colnbrook.

The report says:

“A relief road is not a silver bullet option for Slough as may have been perceived by a few individuals who represent some of the community groups in the area”.

A relief road itself would require mitigation if built due to the greater traffic volumes that it would bring to the area.

Eight initial reasons are documented in the report why a new road would not make sense, and the Council has made clear that its view is to support a package of mitigation measures to alleviate pinch points rather than to invest in a new road which would be counter to the interests of Langley and Slough residents.

The report says the Council should only support a relief road option if it came about as part of “a significant unlocking of land for housing, development or other economic activity”, and has called on the Neighbourhoods committee to back its proposal for a package of targeted mitigation measures to improve traffic flow.

Slough says it will continue to share information with Buckinghamshire County and District Councils and explore potential benefits of a relief road.

The Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee will discuss the report when it meets on Tuesday evening (17th January), ahead of Cabinet’s decision on whether to re-open Chequers Bridge expected on 6th February.

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