Wednesday, July 17, 2024

When things go wrong, and they will, where are the contingency plans?

We were struck recently by a story in the Northwich Guardian entitled “A530 Griffiths Road in Northwich remains closed after flooding” as this is, as you may remember, the only way traffic can access the incinerator once it is built.

The story started with “A road in Northwich remains ‘impassable’ due to flooding today, Thursday, two days after it first closed thanks to heavy rain.” It went on to say that heavy traffic had been reported in the area as a result and Police were advising motorists to avoid the area.

Given that the operational incinerator will generate 262 lorry movements a day, we were left wondering, where will the traffic go?

Nature, famously, doesn’t give notice of disasters, and flooding in particular is an issue for the Northwich area. The additional housing in this area built in the last decade won’t have helped the runoff situation and realistically, we can expect more flooding in the future. If not flooding, then snowfall, ice, or any other event that brings traffic to a standstill on this road. The question, therefore, is, when the road is closed, where does the lorry traffic go?

A few years ago there was a bitter cold snap affecting the ability of lorries to access the salt mines in Winsford and the contingency plan they used was to park the lorries up along a minor road in Wharton, effectively blocking it for miles. Hundreds of tipper trucks were stationary for days, waiting for the reopening of the mine.

Where will the Northwich traffic go?

As a reminder, here’s a Google map view of the area and the surrounding roads.

There is certainly no space available on the A530 leading from the bypass towards the plant and likewise, other than the small stretch of dual carriageway between the roundabout and the entrance to Morrisons Distribution, heading south, there’s nowhere for lorries to stop either. Which leaves the bypass as the only alternative.

Is this the plan? If the road closes, do they simply stack them along the bypass? If so, for how long? Plans like this already exist for lorries approaching Dover, where they are stacked on the motorway, and the chaos it causes is shown nationwide on our TV screens. Is this the plan for Northwich? Are we to be subjected to this kind of disruption and if so, when were we consulted about it?

Perhaps someone on the local Council or CWAC might like to let the people they serve know about this? Or maybe this is just another good reason why this irrelevant monstrosity should never have been built at all.