Hatters Way flyover would increase traffic and congestion in that part of Luton says engineer

"We want to encourage people to get on public transport, ride a bike or walk”
Cars in traffic (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)Cars in traffic (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Cars in traffic (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Building a flyover at one end of Hatters Way in Luton to improve traffic flows would only attract more vehicles into that part of the town, a meeting heard.

Deputy borough council leader and Labour Lewsey councillor Aslam Khan raised the issue during a report on the local authority’s work programme for integrated transport, highway maintenance and street lighting.

Approval was being requested from the executive to implement the plan for 2023/24, according to a report to the committee.

This programme includes highway maintenance such as the resurfacing of carriageways and footway upgrades, street lighting and schemes to improve safety, manage congestion and upgrade highway infrastructure.

“The highway network in Luton plays a critical role in the economic growth of the town by supporting investment into the borough,” said the report.

“That’s achievable by managing well-maintained highway infrastructure and assets providing fast and efficient movement to current and potential economic and community hubs.

“The programme supports corporate policies, such as the climate change agenda and improving air quality.”

As well as roads and footpaths, the network includes 21,835 street lights and other electrical equipment, 222 bridges and highway structures, 95 sets of traffic signals and about 62,000 other items of street furniture.

Councillor Khan asked about the possibility of building a flyover at Hatters Way. “I know it’s an expensive thing, but that area of the town is getting busier,” he explained.

“You’re talking about more people settling around there. Motorists are using that bypass more than ever and it’s becoming a car park. Have you any long-term plans for when the football club moves or a future vision for that area?”

The council’s senior traffic signals engineer Kieran Franzen said: “That’s a question for our transport strategy and sustainability team. The main thing is that you encourage more traffic to the area if you put in something like this.

“If we keep designing things for the road user, you’ll encourage more traffic and congestion in the area. It’s not sustainable.

“Our strategy is to encourage active travel, cycling and walking. We want to encourage people to get on public transport, ride a bike or walk.”

Labour Limbury councillor Rob Roche mentioned flooding from the River Lea around Black Swan Lane inquiring whether “more cleaning of the gulleys and closer working with the Environment Agency” would help the condition of the road surfaces locally.

LBC’s highways asset manager Mark Aaronson replied: “There are two challenges, the council’s revenue budget and the number of parked vehicles on the road which prevent us cleaning gulleys.

“It costs me money to remove those vehicles. If we close a road, it requires traffic management and that increases the cost. There are road closure and deep clean programmes. We cleaned 100 roads last year.

“We’re looking at modelling to target where we can use our resources more effectively. We also work with the Environment Agency.”