After eight years of discussions, a project to redesign Knaresborough’s busiest junction has been completed, but the result has had mixed reactions.
North Yorkshire County Council started looking at Bond End in 2010 when the area was found to be exceeding national air pollution limits.
Earlier this month, a ten-week scheme to remove all of the traffic lights from the junction and replace them with two mini roundabouts was finished, and many have commented that traffic is much more ‘free-flowing’.
But resident of Bond End, Ann Hill, says the congestion problem has still not been resolved.
She said: “It is free flowing at the moment but this is a honeymoon period and NYCC agree. There are a lot of people who didn’t drive there and went other ways to miss the roadworks but now that it’s done they are just starting to come back.
“We have noticed a definite increase in the last 10 days, it’s getting busier and busier.”
Ms Hill also said that the works had just displaced the problem up the High Street, but pointed out that the council had foreseen that happening. She added: “The other thing is that we may have free flowing traffic at Bond End but it’s causing long tail backs along the High Street because of the Gracious Street lights.
“It said in the council’s report before this went ahead that the pollution problem would move from Bond End to the High Street and that is what has happened.”
But not all Knaresborough residents agree.
Resident of Boroughbridge Road, Maurice Johnson, said: “The improvement is remarkable and fantastic! As a Boroughbridge Road resident the transformation is very much appreciated! Well done to all concerned!
Continuing the positive trend, NYCC’s Executive Member for Highways, Councillor Don Mackenzie, said that all the feedback he has had suggests the changes have been well received.
He said: “The junction was fully reopened nearly three weeks ago. My view is that any honeymoon period, during which regular users of Bond End may have chosen alternative routes, has now passed.
As far as comments are concerned that the problem has merely been displaced to further up the High Street - I do not understand how that can be happening if the junction is flowing more freely.
“Of course, I agree that traffic volumes along Knaresborough High Street are high and a longer term ambition would be to remove through traffic out of the town centre altogether.
“It is worth bearing in mind that the principal reason for the Bond End scheme was and is to improve air quality.
“I am very hopeful that readings taken since the completion of the project and still being taken will show a marked improvement in air quality, principally because of a reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels which are emitted by diesel vehicles standing at lights.”
Coun Mackenzie added that he would be attending a meeting to review traffic flows through Bond End on December 6 at the Highways Area Office in Boroughbridge.