Will Hull’s mythical outer ring road scheme…

Will Hull’s mythical outer ring road scheme ever get built?
2020-08-16 04:00:00
Initial work has finally started on the long-awaited £355m upgrade of Castle Street in the city centre. The four-year scheme is aimed at improving vehicle flows on the A63 through the city, reducing congestion on the route and improving air quality. Despite being the most expensive highways development in Hull's history, it's also widely regarded in transport circles as only being a short-term solution to ever-increasing traffic in the city. Supporters of the Lagoon Hull project will point to their ambitious plan to create a dual carriageway in the Humber running from Alexandra Dock to Hessle as a potential long-term answer to the issue. But there's also another option which has been subject to much debate if little actual concrete progress over the years. We're talking about the almost mythical Hull outer ring road. Images of how the £355m A63 Castle Street upgrade will look when complete York has got one, even Beverley now has one if you fancy avoiding a close shave with the Minster and the surrounding twisting narrow roads in the town centre, but an outer ring road around Hull still remains little more than a vague idea. It got another mention recently when the city council's cabinet agreed to start a consultation on a controversial masterplan for greenfield land known as East Carr Fields, close to the city boundary near the Spring Cottage estate. With nearby residents already raising concerns over the potential impact of 650 new homes being built on the site, Councillor Dave Craker half-jokingly suggested it might be a good time to look at building the outer ring road to provide easier access from the other side of Holderness Drain rather than through existing residential streets. Of course, we've been here before. When the timetable for Castle Street kept slipping in 2017, Councillor Haraldo Herrera-Richmond told a Hull transport scrutiny committee: “What the city really needs is a ring road around the north to link to the A63 to the eastern docks.” Similar words have been said over the years yet all to no avail. Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart and transport minister Robert Goodwill opening Beverley's southern relief road in 2015 Depending on who you talk too, the origins of the outer ring road project are believed to go back to the 1970s and the early days of the former Humberside County Council. Back then, Humberside was responsible for major road schemes as well as acquiring the necessary land to make them happen. Whether the idea of a proper city ring road ever got further than the back of councillor's cigarette packet is hard to pin down. although it's rumoured land in the Bilton area was earmarked as a possible route for the eastern section. As it turned out, the two biggest North Bank road schemes eventually carried out by the old authority before its abolition in 1996 were by-pass projects for Beverley and Leven. The last serious debate on an outer ring road for Hull unbelievably took place a decade ago. Back in 2010, the city council tentatively suggested moving part of its existing inner ring road into the neighbouring East Riding to create a new route linking the A15 at the Humber Bridge to the A164, the A1079 and the A1033. It's 1975 and a sign goes up for the new county of Humberside (Image: Hull Daily Mail) At the time, the idea was rebuffed by the East Riding which said it was pursuing its own plans to upgrade the major A roads in its area. Some of those plans, including new roundabouts and sections of dual carriageway on the A164, have subsequently happened. A southern relief road near Beverley has also been built. Back in Hull, the existing inner ring road remains just about the only option for drivers looking to skirt around the city to avoid the city centre. 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