Liverpool 2 – A busier port means yet more traffic on A5036 & a road through Rimrose Valley Country Park!

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships in August 2015.

There is every danger that I’ll do this subject to death but the fact remains that building the new river berth at the Port of Liverpool well before the transport infrastructure to cope with the increased freight traffic was put in place was at best a very odd idea.

The Liverpool Echo has the story of the new river berth’s progress towards bringing in more and bigger ships to the port on its web site – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/peel-says-more-big-ships-15015748

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Highways England announced recently that it intends to construct a brand new road down the Rimrose Valley Country Park to address the increasing port traffic and the opposition to that new road plan is gathering pace via the Rimrose Valley Friends whose web site can be accessed via the link below:-

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/

Rimrose Valley Country Park – I had it all to myself early yesterday morning

I enjoy cycling down the Rimrose Valley, it’s a lovely green oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of the crowded part of Sefton Borough. So sad then that Highways England are to drive a new road right through the heart of it

Early last Sunday morning it felt like I had the whole valley to myself and then on the horizon the reason that the road is going to be built came into view (see photo above), the gantry cranes of Liverpool 2.

I’ve blogged about this more times than I care to recall as it has been one of the most ludicrous pieces of regional planning that you could imagine. Best described as a cart before horse scenario, the new deep water dock (built to cater for huge container ships) was constructed before the transport infrastructure needed to serve it was detailed, consulted upon or planning permission given – never mind even built.

You really would do well to make a story like this up. Now of course locals living around the Rimrose Valley are protesting about what Highways England are planning to construct through their green oasis. The latest news seems to be that Highways England are ploughing on regardless and they will not say when they are to start building the road so to keep the protestors on their toes. What a carry on………………

Click on the photos to enlarge them

The second photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Access to the Port of Liverpool – Some good news at last to boost rail freight

Class 66 Diesel Locos at Seaforth Container Terminal

From a Merseytravel briefing

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Peel Ports partners with DB Cargo for first rail freight service

Peel Ports has partnered with the freight company, DB Cargo UK to provide a new rail service for containers via the Port of Liverpool for the first time. The new service provides shipping lines, forwarders, tank operators and cargo-owners with a seamless route, between the quayside at Liverpool and Scotland. The first service is due to start on 8th May, with goods loaded in Liverpool and transferred to Mossend terminal in Glasgow, before onward delivery to destinations across Scotland. The returning service to Liverpool will carry Scottish goods for export, with a large portion destined for America. Visit the Peel Ports website for more information.

www.peelports.com/news/2018/peel-ports-partners-with-db-cargo-for-first-rail-freight-service

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Although this is clearly a step in the right direction in terms of getting freight to and from the Port of Liverpool it will in reality only scratch the surface with the vast majority of containers being taken to and from the port via road haulage along the now beyond capacity A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road to Switch Island.

Rimrose Valley Country Park

So the move is not going to stop Highways England’s proposal to construct a new road right through Rimrose Valley Country Park. Sadly the fight against that road must continue.

Switch Island – Too complex and the junction with Brooms Cross Road does not work

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-42946503

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

During my time as a Sefton Councillor I was involved in pretty much all the activities which eventually led to the building of Brooms Cross Road.

It all started with us marching through Thornton to try to get the new road project back on the agenda of Sefton Council. It had previously fallen off that agenda with the demise of what was then called the ‘Blue Route’. That former project would have seen a great deal of tree loss through Ince Woods and it fell pretty much for that reason. Here’s a couple of photos of us marching back around the turn of the century:-

Cllr. Geoff Howe and a young me on this shot marching with Thornton residents. My placard says ‘83% of Thornton residents want a relief road’.

Thornton residents marching to get the new road built.

The campaign gathered momentum and we managed to get all-party support for the new road (without damaging the woods) on the then balanced Sefton Council where no one party had a majority. Then I went, as Sefton Leader, to try to gain support from regional governmental bodies which existed at the time but are now defunct. We got that support.

I’ve read recently that some folks think that Sefton Council was asked to make a financial contribution to the project late on. In fact Sefton was always putting money into the project, indeed it was the promoter of the new road knowing full well it was going to have to put money in the pot.

The junction of the road with Switch Island has of course been the big issue especially as so many accidents have occurred there since the new road has been open and connected to an already complex junction.

Photo taken during the construction of Brooms Cross Road This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

I recall being shown a computer programme by the Highways Agency (now called Highways England) which predicted traffic flows and how they would change with the new road in place. I must admit to being sceptical at the time but the professional engineers said they had taken account of all the issues and that the plan would fly. It didn’t.

With the benefit of hindsight and the experience of watching what goes on at Switch Island my view is that the junction is simply too complex. What I mean by this is that new or irregular drivers encountering it have a bewildering array of signs and road markings to take on board. Unsurprisingly, they get things wrong and then have to swing across lanes, often without the due care required. Add into this the small minority of irresponsible regular users who expect to be able to fly through the junction at high speed (often running red lights) then you have a heady brew and accidents are always going to be on the cards.

The new lane indicator lights are innovative but how much they will actually help is yet to be seen. What I can’t get my head around is why speed/red light cameras were not been installed a long time ago. Surely dropping the vehicle approach speeds and taking the manic red light running out via such cameras would dramatically reduce the accidents, would it not?

Does Switch Island need fly-overs? Well yes it does and it has needed them for a long time now. Surely A5036/Dunningsbridge Rd docks trucks should be able to access the M58 without having to negotiate the island/junction and the same with traffic coming off the M57 wanting to travel down Brooms Cross Road.

And a final thought, beware of those promising to sort out Switch Island because with increased traffic it may only get worse, especially if no speed/red light cameras are installed.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Rail tunnels under Liverpool – A more environmentally sustainable solutuion to the Port of Liverpool access difficulties

Liverpool 2’s massive new container cranes

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/stunning-pictures-reveal-secret-tunnels-14081033

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

With all the objections to the Highways England ‘let’s build a new road through the Rimrose Valley Country Park’ preferred solution to try to solve the expanding Port of Liverpool’s access difficulties these old tunnels under the City may well be a far better and more environmentally sustainable solution.

For goodness sake expanding the rail access to the Port is the solution and the tunnels are already there. What’s more the present rail link to the Port is underused.

With thanks to Mike Penn for the lead to this posting

Maghull – The narrowest cyclepath/footway you can imagine – A59 – Northway

Cycling or indeed walking around Switch Island to go to say Aintree Village or ASDA from Maghull is a bit of a performance because you have to go around the island in an anti-clockwise direction and out of your way.

This huge vehicle junction where 3 dual carriageways, 1 single carriageway road and 2 motorways join has evolved over time rather than been planned or so it seems. It’s far from being pedestrian or cyclist friendly, indeed its a dangerous place altogether as the numerous weekly vehicle accidents prove. Highways England are you listening?

However, if you know your way around it you can just about survive walking, cycling or driving but one odd quirk of the planning of the pedestrian/cycling route is on the A59/Northway as you leave Maghull heading for Switch Island.

A cycle/pedestrian crossing was installed over both separate carriageways of the A59 some years back so that you are taken to a path alongside the northbound traffic flow. Trouble is this path is very narrow, yet it is supposed to be for pedestrians and cyclists. It is not possible for one cyclist and one pedestrian to pass each other without one standing aside.

I have raised this matter with Sefton Council and have noted that in recent weeks all kinds of spray painted makings have been placed along the path which seem to indicate that some work is going to take place. Not sure what the work is but I hope this completely inadequate path is going to be widened.

Here’s a shot of the crossing and a view towards Switch Island. The path in question runs alongside the northbound carriageway where you can see the dog walker. The narrowness of the path can also be seen:-

Click on the photo to enlarge it