High Priority Highways Upgrades Need Direct Stakeholder Engagement
Many critical junctions on our highways network are overloaded. Addressing these pinch points allows traffic to flow more freely. This, in turn, reduces delays, congestion and emissions and improves safety. But where there’s the greatest need for a junction upgrade, there’s also most likely to be significant disruption while the work is carried out.
A strategic scheme such as the A46 upgrade at Binley has impacts both locally and regionally. Many different stakeholders have to be engaged effectively. This process takes a lot of planning to ensure that everyone affected is informed and consulted.
The A46 project involves building a new flyover for long distance traffic to separate it from local traffic. Currently, everything converges at a single, highly congested roundabout.
Residents and businesses (local and regional) will benefit significantly from the improvements but also need to be prepared for potential disruption. They need clear communication to understand what is happening and how they can plan for the inevitable temporary changes to the road layout.
Face to Face Stakeholder Engagement
In the digital age it’s tempting to think that you can simply put all the information online, add a way for people to leave comments, and that’s the bulk of the consultation process taken care of.
Even with all of the communications technology at our disposal there’s no substitute for meeting people face to face, and explaining directly what’s happening and getting their feedback – both before and during the works. And that’s what the Osborne Infrastructure team did back in July 2021.
Our team organised five public consultation events. Venues included a supermarket, retail park, DIY store, garden centre and a village hall. These were chosen because of their high footfall and accessibility.
Each event lasted six hours giving people plenty of opportunity to drop in, find out more and have their questions answered. This gave us the chance to explain the benefits of the new flyover as well the improvements we are making to nearby footpaths and cycleways.
The events were well attended and highly appreciated. They demonstrate a genuine commitment to effective stakeholder engagement beyond simply posting the information and ticking the box.