HC Deb 15 January 1964 vol 687 cc207-8
27. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the finding of the Crowther Report that roundabouts are an obstruction to traffic, he will immediately curtail expenditure on construction of new roundabouts and spend more on flyovers instead.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)

The Report suggests that many of the more important new roads in cities should be free from crossroads and roundabouts if they are to carry the very heavy volumes of traffic that are likely in the future. I would agree with this. An increasing number of flyovers or underpasses are already being provided or planned in the larger towns, and on the more important roads outside towns, where their provision is justified by the volume of traffic and can be made economically.

Mr. Digby

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this Report also says that America is a generation ahead of us in the motor age and that they havevirtually stopped making roundabouts in the United States, according to information which I received when I was in Washington?

Mr. Marples

That is true, but the problem in the United States is somewhat different from that in this country. If we had the same density of population as the United States, we would have only 2½ million people.

Mr. Popplewell

Roundabouts are entirely outmoded and outdated, particularly in the country areas. Is not the Minister aware that his Department and various local authorities have wasted a very large amount of money in building roundabouts which have had to be done away with and flyovers or underpasses erected in their place? Will the right hon. Gentleman have another look at this and ensure that in future roundabouts are not considered, at any rate on roads in the countryside?

Mr. Marples

This depends on the volume of traffic. If the volume of traffic is exceedingly heavy, clearly a flyover or underpass is desirable. On the other hand, if it is extremely light it is an unnecessary extravagence, and it is better to build a roundabout at about one-fifth of the cost to start with and provide for the eventual building of an underpass or overpass.

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