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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Evening Mail explores Cumbria roadworks

A DRIVE along the A590 has become increasingly frustrating over recent weeks, with delays and start-and-stop journeys a frequent irritant for motorists.

To gain a sense of the concern of many residents that depend on the route every day, I took a journey with fellow Evening Mail employee, photographer Jon Granger, from Barrow to Levens and soon discovered their annoyance.

Starting at 3pm from the Evening Mail’s car park in Abbey Road, we travelled along Holker Street and Devonshire Road, joining the A590 in Park Road at the Ormsgill junction.

The sheer volume of traffic travelling in both directions delayed the journey by almost five minutes here as it was simply impossible to fit in, leading me to wonder whether a roundabout would improve traffic flow.

However, we eventually managed to join the A590 and were well on our way until we met our first set of roadworks, just up the road.

A big red sign declaring “roadworks ahead,” followed by a myriad of others telling motorists not to overtake, greeted us.

Much to our annoyance, however, the resurfacing works were deserted with no workers on site and empty diggers.

Sights like this can only compound the belief among many residents that the roadworks on the A590 are not being tackled with great urgency, however true or untrue it may be.

The carriageways have been significantly narrowed between Park Road and the Askam Road roundabout to accommodate the works, making it even more frustrating to see no apparent work taking place. There were long queues along this stretch too, but thankfully we were still moving.

After the roundabout and a set of temporary traffic lights, we breathed a sigh of relief. It was 3.20pm by the time we passed the turn-off for Dalton, and 3.25pm when we arrived in Ulverston. The road was fairly clear as we travelled towards the Greenodd roundabout.

As we reached the new structure, the smooth surface made a notable difference to the familiar rattle of the road.

It was easy and quick to navigate the £2.7m roundabout, showing the impact a successful Highways Agency project can have on journey time.

Our safe passage was a far cry from the situation a few months ago when construction at the roundabout caused miles of tailbacks. The next problem encountered was slow moving traffic towards Haverthwaite and Backbarrow.

There was no obvious reason for the delays but a large volume of traffic is having to use alternative routes due to the closure of Low Wood Bridge by United Utilities.

It was here we passed two Highways Agency maintenance trucks, presumably heading to Askam or the A595.

The final push towards Levens was possibly the slowest part of our journey, with fluorescent orange cones and ribbons signalling the start of another work site.

Speed limits of 40mph have been put in place for a mile-and-a-half between Sampool Bridge and Church Road due to drainage works.

There were long queues here and a lane was closed in both directions, slowing our trip.

At least here we witnessed a live construction site, with diggers pulling up asphalt from the central reservation and workers incessantly drilling the road.

It was 3.50pm by the time our journey came to an end at Levens. Considering we did not travel at rush hour, this was longer than expected.


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