§ 72. Mr. Proctor
asked the Minister of Transport if he will ensure that congestion of traffic at Barton Bridge is avoided during periods of peak road traffic.
§ 41. Mr. Ellis Smith
asked the Minister of Transport how many man hours of production are lost and how many vehicles are delayed daily through Barton Bridge, Manchester Ship Canal; and what proposals he has for dealing with the traffic problems at the bridge.
§ Mr. Barnes
The Manchester Ship Canal Company agreed in 1947 that the swing bridge should normally be open to road traffic for two periods during each of the morning and evening peaks. From time to time, however, circumstances prevent the opening of the bridge at the agreed times and cause delay to road vehicles. My information is not sufficiently detailed to enable me to say how many vehicles are delayed daily or what the delays amount to in terms of man-hours of production lost. I will review the arrangements with the Company and see whether they can be improved. To overcome the difficulty completely it would be necessary to construct a new road with a high-level bridge over the canal but this would cost something like £2 million and cannot be contemplated in the present circumstances.
§ Mr. Proctor
Would my right hon. Friend undertake to call a conference of all the authorities represented with a view to having as little traffic as possible during the road peak hours? If he has difficulty with the road and canal authorities would he call in the nationalised railways, who are accustomed to the time-tabling of traffic, in order to obtain the better operation of the traffic at this point?
§ Mr. Barnes
I am in consultation with the local authorities, but I do not propose, in this case, to put any additional burdens upon British Railways.