'The restriction should not be imposed until an east/west route exists'
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ottingharnshire County Council proposes to impose a 17-tonne weight restriction on the A6020 between Ravenshead and Rainworth. This road links the A617 to the A60 and provides the route east to Junction 17 of the M1 . The council claims the road is substandard and unsuitable for lorries, even though for many years the road was quite adequate for moving coal from Blidworth Colliery. The colliery is now closed resulting in a reduction in LGVs using this road. The council has carried out consultation and received strong objections from the Road Haulage Association against the proposed weight restriction. The reasons for imposing a 17-tonne weight limit include the council's belief that it would be easier for the police to carry out enforcement as vehicles of more than 17 tonnes have three or more axles and would easily be recognised. The council has also said that because the road narrows in places, it is more suitable for vehicles of 7.5 tonnes GVW, implying that vehicles between 7.5 tonnes and 17.5 tonnes are less wide than heavier vehicles. But a vehicle of 7.5 tonnes can be of the same width as any vehicle above 17 tonnes. As an alternative, the RHA asked the council to consider using Longdale Lane which would have brought less congestion than diverting traffic down the A60 to the Redh ill roundabout on Nottingham's outskirts, as the council proposed. This latter route also substantially increases the journey time and mileage. Another unhelpful alternative would be to use the MO toward Mansfield, increasing mileage and congestion around Mansfield Town. Drivers unfamiliar with the area will then find the council has introduced weight restrictions, preventing access to the A617, During the consultation stage, the council told the RHA there is a need for an improved east/west route across the county. We would wholeheartedly support the construction of such a route—merely shifting traffic from one location to another will not resolve the problem. The proposed restriction might reduce the number of LGVs but it won't overcome the problem of sub-standard road widths and poor road conditions. Hauliers having to use the longer routes will incur substantial increases to running costs. Problems will be created For police who have to enforce these restrictions. Members of the public not Familiar with lorry construction might think any vehicle above a certain size is contravening the restriction, irrespective of the number of axles. This will inevitably result in numerous false and time consuming reports to the police. RHA members feel strongly that the blanket restriction should not be imposed until an adequate east/west route exists. We cannot see the need for such a large restriction when colliery closures in the area have reduced the number of vehicle movements, The RHA always tries to work with councils in a constructive manner but, in this instance, we feel much Further consideration needs to be given to this problem before action is taken.
The proposal is open to objections from the public until 4 November. I urge RHA members and all interested parties to object as soon as possible by writing to the County Solicitor, County Hall, West Bridgeford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP.