Midlands Connect is to commission a study on how to increase capacity and connectivity across all modes of transport around the proposed new High Speed 2 (HS2) phase 2b station at Toton.
The body – which aims to bring together local authorities and local enterprise partnerships from across the Midlands – said that the A52-Toton Multi-Modal Study will allow it to see how pressure could be eased on the road network from the additionalpressure imposed on it by HS2.
“We’ve got a range of issues between Nottingham and Derby, the A52 link, the HS2 hub station at Toton just south of the A52 and east of the M1,” said Midlands Connect HS2 lead Andrew Pritchard. “We’ve also got the East Midlands airport to the south with very limited public transport access.
“We know that there are a number of highway interventions which will need to take place on the A52 to deal with both the current level of growth and to get access into the hub station at Toton.”
He said that by looking holistically at improvements across all transport options in the area, capacity could be increased without unnecessary and invasive road expansions.
“What we also know is that there are a range of options and transport enhancements that we could make,” he said. “If you did this properly you would look to try and maximise the public transport accessibility to the hub station and the airport in a way which will then reduce the amount of road infrastructure you have to build.
“You would then only have to build for the residual demand for the extended infrastructure which will be cheaper and less environmentally damaging.”
Prichard said that it was building on experience of the A453 improvement project into Nottingham. Here, he said, it was able to build a less environmentally damaging and less costly road solution as it simply extended the existing tram network, easing demand for road use.
He said that following that logic it wanted to develop a similar kind of integrated package of solutions, looking at extensions to the tram network, improved bus services, bus rapid transit and the tram-train network. He said it wanted to try to maximise public transport accessibility which would mean a cheaper highways solution.
At present, the tram runs from Nottingham to around 2km short of the park and the ride and the future hub station. He said an extension to the station would be relatively straightforward, but that it had plans to increase the access to the Derby side.
“We have aspirations to get it over the railway line (the new HS2 line) and over the Erewash River and into Derbyshire so people can access it from that side via public transport in way they can’t at the moment,” said Pritchard.
He said that currently the river was a key barrier making it difficult for people from Derbyshire to directly access the proposed hub station.
“The railway line effectively runs through the Erewash Valley so it’s a combination of the river and the railway line which stands as our severance issues,” he said.
Upgrades to the roads would then focus on improving the flow of traffic between Nottingham and Derby on the existing A52 and a potential junction from the A52 south into the hub station at Toton on the Nottinghamshire side of the A52.
“You’ve also got junction 25 of the M1 which is just to the east of the hub station which is the junction which links the A52 with the M1,” said Pritchard.
“We’ll look at that junction to see what the best solution for that junction is.”
The commissioning body said it was now looking to progressing the options and is aiming to tender the study in the summer of this year.