Posts Tagged ‘A458’

Traffic diversion through Much Wenlock (2)

diversion-sign1A month ago I wrote about the impact of diverted traffic on Much Wenlock. The diversion is because of Network Rail’s intention to “deliver a safety-critical upgrade” to Onibury level crossing between Ludlow and Craven Arms on the A49.

Network Rail say “Approximately 6,000 vehicles a day use this busy level crossing, connecting Leominster and Shrewsbury. This heavy usage, combined with the track layout and the interface between the road and railway mean its surface is prone to significant deterioration.” You can read more about their plans here.

The impact of these works is an extensive diversion, which will lead through the A458 in Much Wenlock.

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I have made my concerns about Much Wenlock very clear to Network Rail, Highways England and Shropshire Council. They include the impact of wide and heavy vehicles on narrow Victoria Road, the increased difficulty for pedestrians in crossing the A458 and the probability of locals, and those reliant on satnav, trying to dodge hold-ups by detouring along narrow lanes and residential streets.

Centurion Traffic Management are firming up their ancillary traffic management proposals for the county roads – which includes calming measures (“SLOW” warning signs prior to the identified pinch point plus “ONCOMING VEHICLES IN CENTRE OF ROAD” or similar – and “ACCESS ONLY” warning signs at the Wigwig/Homer access junctions) on the A458 and A4169. Hopefully there will be further measures to prevent traffic rat-running through the town especially during the rush hour.

This week, a further concern has arisen. A couple of years ago, the A458 Harley Hill/Bank was resurfaced following a fatal accident in 2012. My recollection is that the surface was deemed to be partially the cause of the smash. On Tuesday this week we had a car overturn and a motorcycle collide with a car in two separate incidents in the same spot.
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I have therefore requested that a survey be conducted to ensure that there is no latent problem with the road that might prove hazardous to the increased volume of traffic that is expected. image1 (17)

The works are due to commence 1st July for the 10 day period. Meanwhile the planned works on the Bridgnorth by-pass have been put back by a week to avoid a clash.

Traffic diversion through Much Wenlock

We’ve seen some disruption this year on Much Wenlock’s roads, mostly because of resurfacing. The overwhelming majority of local residents are tolerant of delays, noise and dirt which are the inevitable consequence of highways improvements and maintenance. Occasionally we have to bear additional diverted traffic because of roadworks elsewhere – such as when the B4380 Buildwas-Atcham road was being resurfaced a couple of years ago.

This summer there are plans that bring a rather more substantial diversion our way. The A49 at Onibury, between Ludlow and Craven Arms, is to be closed so that Network Rail can carry out essential work at the level crossing. The proposed diversion is from Ludlow to Kidderminster, then to Bridgnorth and on to Shrewsbury (and, for southbound traffic, the reverse). This inevitably means the diverted traffic driving through Much Wenlock.image6Given that the A49 is a trunk road, it is understandable that the diversion should be on roads capable of taking large volumes of heavy traffic. For the most part, the diversion route can accommodate this extra load for ten days although, given that it’s an additional 50 miles on the journey, I suspect that some drivers will try to find a short-cut. 
image1 (21)My principal concern, so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, is the narrow stretch of the A458 between the B4378 Bourton Road junction and the B4371 Stretton Road junction. Victoria Road is a pinch point, bounded by old limestone walls on both sides. The wall supporting the elevated footway is frequently struck by vehicles and evidence of the impacts is there for all to see – shards of stone and mortar on the road. For much of this 400 yard stretch, this footway is the only pedestrian route. image4 (2)Residents of Victoria Road and of Stretton Road, comprising some 70 properties, who walk into Much Wenlock already have to negotiate traffic approaching around blind bends, sometime at speeds in excess of the permitted limit. The only way to cross over is via a central refuge in Victoria Road. Of course visitors to our local campsites will have to use this route as well when heading into the town for a meal or drink, or to take in the sights.image5Adding considerably more traffic, day and night, will increase the risks for local pedestrians and visitors to our town this summer. These photographs were taken in the space of five minutes mid-morning today. The morning and evening rush-hour sees far more traffic.image2 (8)-001Vehicles heading in both directions will have to negotiate Wenlock Edge. Heading from Shrewsbury, this an especially challenging incline for heavy vehicles and those towing trailer and caravans. An increase in the volume of traffic will see more instances of hill starts when traffic has come to a halt. And this brings me to another concern.

Driving from Cressage toward Much Wenlock along the A458, it is possible to see if the traffic is at a halt at the bottom of the incline from a long distance. If it is, the temptation is to turn off at Wig Wig and try to get ahead of the blockage. This single-track lane is unsuitable for more than the occasional car or tractor and certainly hazardous for a large vehicle which would have to negotiate the ford and the tight bends. Any use of this as a cut-through would be a major inconvenience to the local residents and an added frustration for drivers who shouldn’t be using the route.homer wigwigI’ve aired my concerns with the hard-pressed highways team who have to juggle essential maintenance by Network Rail, the Highways Agency and our own Shropshire Council Highways department, along with the various electricity, water, gas and telephone undertakings. They understand my concerns – and mine aren’t the only ones. As a result, a meeting is being arranged to re-examine all of the options and consider what traffic management measures might ease the load for local residents and for all motorists. I’m hoping that, by bringing all parties together, we can look forward to a less congested Victoria Road than might otherwise be the case.image1 (20)

Highways resurfacing

Shropshire Council intends to re-surface the A458 between Much Wenlock and the top of Harley Bank. The work will involve the removal of the existing surface and relaying a new surface. This work was cancelled at short notice earlier in the year. As part of the works the junction with Stretton Road will also be resurfaced.

The work is due to commence on the 1st September, and is expected to take two weeks to complete. A traffic diversion will be in place and the Stretton Road junction will be open to traffic throughout the works period but will be controlled using traffic lights.

The pinch-point in the High Street is marked with a yellow triangle. This will be replaced with a kerb and bollards in an endeavour to prevent vehicles either blocking the road or parking on the narrow footpath. Installation will take place between 7th and 9th October and High Street will be closed for part of this time.

The narrow stretch of the A4169 in Sheinton Street is frequently congested when heavy vehicles try to pass and is affected by other traffic problems. Shropshire Council will be undertaking a feasibility study to consider possible solutions. The study will take place in the current financial year.

Roadworks postponed

The A458 Harley Bank road closure scheduled for 24th March was postponed at very short notice for contractual reasons.

The signage element of the scheme was as a result of the fatal road accident which occurred in 2012. The signage works are still to be carried out this spring, using temporary traffic signals.

I have impressed upon the highways engineers that the remaining road surfacing works should be organised after the summer period. This is because of the disruption caused by a closure of the A458, and the impact that it may have on the local economy.

Meanwhile, the A4169 Sheinton Street, near Station Road, may have to be closed in the coming weeks for urgent sewer replacement works. Unfortunately the date has yet to be determined, so watch out for advisory signs.

Highways resurfacing

The A458 Harley Bank will be closed for re-surfacing of the carriageway and implementing revised road markings and signs from 24th March for two weeks. Through traffic will be diverted along the A4169 to Buildwas and the B4380 to Atcham.

Severn Trent Water is replacing water pipes over the coming months which may cause some disruption. Work on the B4371 to Church Stretton starts on 24th March. The road will be closed at Wall-under-Haywood for two weeks from 7th April. Work on the B4368 to Craven Arms has started and will continue until August. Three-way traffic signals south of Diddlebury may cause some delays.

Road works

A cause of considerable concern to local residents is the infrastructure supporting our communities. Drainage, energy, communications and roads are high priorities.

The past few months have seen much disruption on the roads. In some cases it has been necessary to repair the surface. In other cases, underground repairs are required. Bourton Road in Much Wenlock was closed recently to repair a leaking water main.

The A458 at Venus Bank, between Cross Houses and Cound has suffered with flooding issues for some years, so Shropshire Council has installed an improved drainage system designed to resolve the flooding problem. The works were scheduled to take six weeks but, fortunately, the road was only closed for a month.

Less good news is regarding the B4373 Broseley to Bridgnorth road, where the major works to replace the gas main have overrun. The contractors will be fined for the excess time that the road will be closed. Hopefully, some of these funds will be invested in Much Wenlock’s  Merrywell Lane diversion route where the road surface is breaking up.

Road closures are not made lightly. Disruption to local businesses and to residents’ normal travel plans is avoided wherever possible but is sometimes unavoidable.

David Turner


Woodhouse Farm
Wyke
Much Wenlock
TF13 6NZ

01952 728802

david.turner@shropshire.gov.uk
Shropshire Council
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The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.