Cllr Rachel Melly
Cllr Rachel Melly

Fears have been expressed that ruling Lib Dem and Green councillors’ plans to store up multiple road closures for after next May’s local elections could result in traffic gridlock.

City Councillors have been informed that the planned closure of Lendal Bridge for a ‘deck repair’ and resurfacing has been postponed until the new council is elected. The removal of Queen Street Bridge near the railway station is expected to be put on hold until after the election too.

But that is only part of the picture, according to Labour’s transport spokesperson, Cllr Rachel Melly, who said:

“As well as Lendal Bridge and Queen Street Bridge, we’re expecting lane closures on Water End to accommodate work around the York Central spine road, temporary closures of Leeman Road linked to the NRM’s expansion, lane closures on Tadcaster Road to accommodate cycle lanes and drainage works, all in the second half of 2023. The problems this is storing up for the road network are unthinkable and reflect a lack of willingness to do the job the Lib Dem-Green administration is supposed to be in place to do”.

Opposition Labour councillors believe that the newly elected council administration in May will face ‘Carmageddon’, with either significant overlap in the works required, or rescheduling some to minimise city-wide disruption, with a corresponding knock-on increase in costs.

“It’s pretty clear that the council has ground to a halt in terms of taking the decisions needed to keep projects and schemes on track”, said Cllr Claire Douglas, leader of the main opposition Labour Group.

“Labour has been talking with stakeholders about what we can do if we win power next May to reduce congestion and enable people to move around the city more easily. This will be made unnecessarily difficult with these delays to major road works. We have to remember this will also drive costs up at a time of high inflation, adding pressure to a council budget that already cannot afford to fund its planned schemes.

“This poor decision making shows a complete lack of effective leadership in our city, with the current Lib Dem-Green administration delaying works solely for party political reasons. These schemes can’t wait. However, the elections in May will provide a well overdue opportunity for residents to show what they think of the way the council is being run”.

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