A £7.5million strategy to get traffic moving in St Neots is expected to get the green light today (Thursday, March 12). The St Neots Market Town Transport Strategy is aimed at reducing congestion, improving air quality, reducing emissions and increasing b

A £7.5million strategy to get traffic moving in St Neots is expected to get the green light today (Thursday, March 12).

The St Neots Market Town Transport Strategy is aimed at reducing congestion, improving air quality, reducing emissions and increasing bus use, cycling and walking.

It is divided into five phases, with funding expected to come from a variety of sources, and is likely to be endorsed by Huntingdonshire District Council's cabinet tomorrow morning.

The first £4,183,000 phase includes co-ordinating traffic flow through the town's four main junctions, and a footpath and cycleway between Eaton Socon and Eynesbury, including the new southern cycle bridge that will be part-funded by Lottery money.

It will also include new cycle routes from the town bridge to Huntingdon Street, and improved map displays and timetable provision for bus services.

Then, in phases two to five, around £1million will be spent on upgrading the junctions at Market Place/New Street/High Street, Tebbuts Road/Tan Yard/New Street, Tebbuts Road/Huntingdon Road and Huntingdon Road/High Street/Cambridge Street, connecting them to the urban traffic control (UTC) system, which co-ordinates traffic flows in the town centre.

The cost also includes connecting pedestrian crossings - two in Market Square and a third in the High Street, near Church Walk - into the UTC to improve safety for pedestrians.

It is also possible that a second cycle bridge could follow to the north of the town as it expands.

HDC is also planning to work with Cambridgeshire County Council to improve bus services.

Planners say there is a continuing problem with rural bus services around St Neots, with some villages having only one bus a week, on market days.

Kimbolton and Great Staughton are identified as being particularly badly served.

HDC is also planning to spend £40,000 improving bus route and timetable information, providing better displays and linking services into the county council's real-time information.

That system could in future easily be linked into platform displays at the railway station.

Also in these later phases are cycle and pedestrian links between Crosshall Road and the town bridge, Little Paxton and Priory and the railway station, Berkley Street and Duck Lane, and Little Paxton and the town centre.

They also include plans to spend £35,000 on cycle racks at Riverside car park, the market square, the railway station, Tesco, Lidl and Priory Park.

Promotional maps will swallow £20,000 and new signing £50,000.

Cabinet member Councillor Andrew Hansard said he has some reservations, particularly about how well the strategy addressed the emerging needs of a town that could swell to 40,000 people.

"We need to address the issue of a park-and-ride to serve Cambridge and the Science Park, and dualling of the A428, as well as find somewhere for buses to park near the centre, perhaps across the river.

"But the new cycleway should take a lot of the community college vehicle movements off the road.

But Councillor Bob Farrer was dismissive. The strategy for St Neots should be designed by the people of the town, he insisted.

"The only way we are ever going to sort this is with a northern bypass," he added. "I've been saying that ever since I joined the council in 1997.