Short-term traffic pains will lead to bigger gains for Flintshire’s public transport network, it has been claimed, after politicians approved works to improve a key route.
Changes are set to be made to the A548 and B5129, which link the county to both Denbighshire and Cheshire, in a bid to shave up to eight minutes off bus journey times.
Measures voted through by Flintshire Council’s cabinet include alterations to traffic signals to allow buses through more quickly, as well as creating bus and cycles lanes.
Cllr Carolyn Thomas, cabinet member for Streetscene and countryside, admitted the works would lead to extra congestion in the area while the work is carried out.
However, the Labour councillor added the long-term benefits would help to secure the future of public transport in Flintshire and ease tailbacks around Deeside Industrial Park.
Speaking at a meeting at County Hall in Mold, she said: “Modelling shows a saving of eight minutes in each direction during peak times for bus transport, while having little detriment on existing car journey times.
“More work is being done in other areas of the UK to decrease journey times by just two or three minutes, so eight minutes is classed as having huge benefits for operators and communities.
“I’m aware that there is going to be congestion while work’s taking place, but it’s about a long-term solution.
“Moving forward there should be less cars on the road, more people using public transport and cycling, less pollution and a healthier lifestyle.”
Members of the authority’s ruling administration backed the use of Welsh Government funding for the scheme between Shotton Lane and Queensferry.
They are also set to introduce the first legally binding quality bus partnership in Wales.
It will see timetables being regulated and shared ticketing arrangements brought in along the route.
Traffic orders would also be used to reduce congestion caused by parked vehicles with a new bus hub set be created in Garden City.
Other cabinet members said the move to reduce traffic was ‘long overdue’.
Cllr Christine Jones, who represents Sealand, suggested the measures should be extended as far as the Airbus factory in Broughton.
She said: “I welcome this, especially the Park & Ride and bus hub that’s going to be in my own ward.
“There’s 9,000 people working on Deeside Industrial Park and it will also encourage people to cycle to work as well.
“The congestion we get on Deeside Industrial Park can be quite horrific, especially during shift changes.
“I would love this extending out to Airbus in the future so they’ve got the shuttle system going there as it’s a massive employer and it could really benefit the people who work there.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).