The Freight Transport Association says that it will oppose proposals for a ban on lorries overtaking on a section of the A14 in Northamptonshire. FTA is concerned that such a ban would impact on the efficient operation of goods vehicles using the road, resulting in delays and increased costs.
FTA understands that the proposed lorry overtaking ban would be introduced in 2007 between junctions 0 and 1 eastbound near Welford and junctions 1 and 2 westbound near Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire.
FTA, which represents the interests of companies operating over 200,000 goods vehicles, has not yet been consulted by the Highways Agency and was advised of the plan by the Agency's maintenance contractor for the route, Carillion URS.
A ban on lorries overtaking was introduced on a section of the M42 between junctions 10 and 11 northbound last year. To date no assessment of the success or failure of this scheme has been published. However, it has been suggested that the trial has resulted in journey time improvements of just five seconds for lane two traffic, and one second for HGVs – almost imperceptible benefits for substantial expense which would be better spent on schemes with more realistic chances of delivering improvements for road users. FTA believes that any further proposals for overtaking bans should not be considered until the results of that experiment have been fully considered.
FTA's Head of Policy for the Midlands, Stephen Kelly, says, 'We are very disappointed that we have yet to be consulted by the Highways Agency. FTA is not opposed to innovative measures designed to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion – our support for the Highways Agency's M42 hard shoulder running scheme is a good example.
'But, at present, we see no evidence to suggest that a lorry overtaking ban will have any beneficial effect on the operation of this section of road.
'The A14 is a key trade route of national importance and there is absolutely no doubt that it should be the subject of major developments in order to improve its operation and reliability to the required level, benefiting the link between the east coast ports and the midlands. But such developments should be designed to support lorry operation rather than impede it.
'In the absence of any evidence of the success of such a scheme, and without the benefit of any dialogue with the Highways Agency, then FTA has no alternative but to strongly object to the proposal.'
For further information call:
Head of Policy – Midlands, Wales & South West
mob: 07818 450491
External Affairs Director
dtel: 01892 552255
mob: 07818 450500