Roundabout changes a 'shambles'

PUBLISHED: 08:48 09 September 2013

Traffic confusion at Marchfields Way roundabout.

Traffic confusion at Marchfields Way roundabout.

Archant

'SHAMBOLIC' and 'very dangerous' roadworks will not be altered on one of Weston's busiest routes despite an angry reaction from motorists and pedestrians.

The removal of some traffic lights at the Winterstoke Road roundabout near Asda, has left many fearing a serious accident is imminent.

The Mercury has this week received dozens of complaints about the roadworks which form part of the £15million Weston Package scheme – designed to improve the town’s road network.

North Somerset Council has put up giant ‘give way’ signs on all approaches to the roundabout outside Asda in Winterstoke Road. However, because the authority has had to keep pedestrian crossings available, many drivers have mistakenly pulled straight out onto the roundabout having seen a green light.

It will review the situation daily but does not plan to make any changes, despite countless near misses involving lorries, pedestrians and cyclists. The roadworks are expected to last seven weeks.

Drivers travelling towards town along Herluin Way have to observe the usual traffic lights which are being used as a pedestrian crossing.

A green light used to give clear entry onto the roundabout, because traffic from the right was halted by a red one. But now, because there are no traffic lights on the roundabout itself, problems have developed.

The change, mirrored on the Marchfields Way and Drove Road approaches, has caught many motorists unaware, as even on a green light, it may not be safe to proceed.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “The green lights on the approach to Winterstoke Road roundabout are for pedestrian crossings, so will not be turned off.

“Although we have turned off the traffic signals that control the flow of traffic on the roundabout, the pedestrian crossings have remained in place.

“We have put up large ‘give way’ signs and clear road markings to demonstrate the roundabout is no longer controlled by the signals. We do ask people to be extra careful when travelling in any area where roadworks are being carried out as road layouts can and do change.”

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, the deputy leader, said the ‘give way’ signs were prominent but more may be added if needed.

At Tuesday’s executive council meeting, Cllr Terry Porter echoed concerns and suggested putting up a sign alerting drivers that the traffic lights are not controlling traffic flow on the roundabout.

Pedestrians are also unhappy, with some saying it is impossible to cross safely.

Vicki Neal said her disabled husband Kenneth could not cross from Gallagher’s Retail Park to the shops between Marchfields Way and Winterstoke Road because the crossing is out of use.

She believes ‘one hell of an accident’ is likely, unless things change.

Armando Di-Finizio, principal at Hans Price Academy, which has an entrance onto Marchfields Way, has lobbied the council to install temporary crossings to help students.

Children returning from their school holidays on Tuesday had no safe crossing between Hildesheim Bridge and Herluin Way.

He said: “On the first morning there was a kid there waiting for ages to cross. She could have bolted but she was sensible. But you know what kids are like, they are not all sensible.”

The council was due to install two temporary crossings yesterday (Wed) to help solve the issue, to the relief of Mr Di-Finizio.

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