Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for transport has criticised delays caused by the dualling of the A30 as “unacceptable”.
Cllr Connor Donnithorne was responding to a question by a member of the public who asked that people were “properly and reliably informed” about the road works.
During a meeting of the council’s cabinet today, a question was read out from Mr R Jenkins, of Perranporth, concerning the scheme to dual the trunk road from Carland Cross to Chiverton. He asked: “When will the A30 road works be finished and can we ensure that people are properly and reliably informed of what is going on rather than being treated like mushrooms? Finally, who is responsible for all this, is it Cornwall Council?”
Although Cllr Donnithorne stressed the work was vital, he was critical about delays and the information coming from National Highways, which is responsible for the work.
He said: “Let me be very clear the A30 roadworks are part of a National Highways road scheme and not Cornwall Council. It is important to make the argument that this will provide the much-needed infrastructure investment to tackle the historic problems with congestion in this area, specifically in the Camborne, Redruth, Hayle and West Cornwall area.
“Once the roadworks are complete this will help local people go about their everyday lives with much greater ease and help stimulate much-needed economic growth and jobs in the area.”
However, he added: “Let me also say this as I have before, the delays that many of us are facing as a result of these roadworks are not acceptable. It is absolutely vital that residents and businesses are kept fully informed of what is going on and that is why I have been disappointed that there has been a disparity between what National Highways signs are saying and what we have been briefed as Cornwall councillors.
“The road signs are still suggesting a completion date of winter 2023. However, National Highways, I believe, are now briefing that the A30 is now working towards being open to traffic by March 2024. I have made the strongest possible representations to ensure that their messaging is consistent so that local people and businesses know what is going on.”
Nick Simmonds-Screech, National Highways’ project director for the A30 scheme, responded to the Conservative councillor’s comments.
He said: “The Chiverton to Carland Cross section of the A30 has always experienced congestion and delays, especially during the summer holidays, and it’s one of the objectives of the scheme, along with improving safety, to unblock that congestion. In terms of delays, there will be no significant closures during the summer, we are continuing to monitor traffic flows, particularly around the temporary Chiverton interchange, and take any action we can to ease traffic flows.
“We’re working closely with Cornwall Council, and other stakeholders, together with local communities and businesses, and in the meantime we thank people for their patience as we deliver this major highway upgrade for Cornwall, something which will help to ease congestion in the future.
“At present we are on target to open the new A30 dual carriageway this winter, but due to perceptions within the local community, we’ve clarified this to winter 2023/2024.”
Roadside signage is currently being reviewed by National Highways’ A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross project team and, as communicated to Cornwall Council, this will be refreshed during the summer months to reduce any confusion to road users and local communities.
National Highways states the opening of the new A30 section has always been planned for this winter, covering mid December 2023 to the end of March 2024, and that is still its aim.