Work will start on Monday to complete the Queensway Gateway link road but it is just a ‘temporary fix’ according to its developers.
To Hastings councillor Godfrey Daniel a temporary fix is not good enough, he told a recent meeting of East Sussex County Council: “I don’t think it is satisfactory that we plan on a major road without actually sorting out the land issues in the first instance.
“We are looking at designs for a temporary solution but I don’t think that is particularly satisfactory… at some stage we need a permanent solution. On that particular item I would like to see some urgency.
“People are getting very frustrated with those ongoing traffic problems that they have on The Ridge in Hastings. It covers all of Hastings and a fair bit of Rother.”
Sea Change Sussex the road’s developer told Hastings In Focus yesterday: “Development of the Queensway Gateway road in Hastings is taking its next step forward. Work is beginning to extend the road and create a temporary link to Sedlescombe Road North (the A21), which will enable drivers to use the road’s complete route for the first time.”
Sea Change has appointed Breheny Civil Engineering to create the temporary connection and they will move on-site on Monday (September 21st) with the goal of completing the link by early 2021.
A Sea Change spokesman said: “The Queensway Gateway is designed to provide a direct route between Queensway (the A290) and Sedlescombe Road North (the A21). It is intended to improve local traffic flows – especially between the A21 and Combe Valley Way (the Link Road) — as well as to boost road safety and reduce congestion on The Ridge.”
A roundabout connecting the new road at its western end to Queensway was completed two years ago and there is a road, once dubbed the most expensive access road in the UK, running 250 metres eastwards from there. It includes another roundabout part-way along and street lighting and a spur road to provide access to three businesses along its route have already been installed.
The new stage of works will involve extending the Queensway Gateway 60 metres further east to join the old Whitworth Road and Junction Road, running right through to Sedlescombe Road (A21), which it will join via a T-junction controlled by traffic lights.
In the process, the remaining businesses along the Queensway Gateway route will be connected to the new road and Junction Road will be closed to traffic at two points – where it meets The Ridge and where it joins Whitworth Road.
As well as relieving congestion on The Ridge, by opening up access to areas zoned for employment use in Hastings’ Local Plan, this will support long-term job creation. The cost of creating the new road was originally estimated at £6m.
The final phase of works to follow to complete the Queensway Gateway will involve replacing the temporary connection with a permanent roundabout joining the Queensway Gateway to the A21. To enable this to happen, Sea Change Sussex says it is working to acquire land at the eastern end of the Queensway Gateway route, “with the support of a compulsory purchase order.”
The temporary connection will enable the permanent roundabout to be built largely ‘offline’ – with two-way traffic on the A21 and the Queensway Gateway continuing to flow.
Sea Change Sussex is being supported in this project by East Sussex County Council, which has given approval for the road development and is promoting temporary traffic regulation orders to enable the road closures.
Hollington and Wishing Tree Councillor Phil Scott said: “It reminds me of the Talking Heads song ‘road to nowhere’. It is a beautiful piece of road, but we just really need to see an end, or a joining up, of that piece of road.”
Responding to councillors’ comments, director of communities, economy and transport Rupert Clubb said: “The first point to stress is that it is not our scheme. The delivery body for it is Seachange Sussex.
“What I can say is a temporary solution has now been agreed. Highways England is satisfied with the proposals for that temporary solution, as are we. There is an ongoing piece of work that involves a bus route that needs re-routing and that is the only outstanding matter that needs resolution on the temporary work.
“In terms of the more permanent solution, I share Councillor Daniel’s frustration with the amount of time that has taken to bring it about.
“There are ongoing negotiations between Seachange and a landowner there, that I do hope we will see a resolution on shortly.”