Posts Tagged ‘HGV’

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)

Much Wenlock A4169 HGV traffic signals (2)

The new HGV traffic lights in Sheinton Street A4169 were switched on in the second week in September.  The first couple of days saw them working as intended and I was pleased to see an email from a local resident who said “…thank you … for the highly organised manner in which highways operatives installed the new HGV sensors on Sheinton Street. We look forward to the traffic lights making a difference outside our homes, but imagine there may be a period of ‘bedding in’ the system.” That statement was almost prophetic!

Some adjustment to the sensors and timing was, and remains, necessary. Local residents’ concerns which have been received by email, telephone and in the street, have been passed to Mouchel, Shropshire Council’s consultants. They are considering the concerns and an immediate action was removing the advisory signs that were on the traffic signal poles. These were planned to advise motorists of the signals’ purpose but they led to confusion and ambiguity.

Another local resident commented “…I would say there has been a marked improvement, though there have still been instances where large vehicles meet at the crunch point.” Site visits have been carried out in conjunction with the contractors, Dynniq UK Ltd.

At the time of writing the consultants and contractors are looking at how the signals can be “tweaked” to best effect. There are still limited issues with HGVs meeting in the narrow section of Sheinton Street and part of the problem is vehicles ignoring the red traffic lights. This is illegal and offenders risk the full force of the law if and when they are apprehended.

Much Wenlock A4169 HGV traffic signals

After extensive consultation in January 2016, the long-awaited HGV interactive traffic signal scheme for the A4169 New Road / Sheinton Street / The Crescent will start in 1st August.

The works will include the installation of permanent two-way traffic signals, with selective vehicle detection for HGVs and buses. Two informal crossing points, and signing and lining works, are also included. The crossing points will probably be marked in red, rather than the green in the illustration.

The work is expected to last for four weeks. Traffic management shall be used with temporary multi-way signals and lane closures. There will be no road closures. The works will be carried out by Dynniq and supervised by Mouchel on behalf of Shropshire Council.

Fullscreen capture 23-Jul-16 123230 PMThe plan can be seen in PDF format here.

HGV routing

Much Wenlock, Benthall and Broseley

Click to view larger map

Many months ago I facilitated a meeting of Much Wenlock and Broseley Town Councils and Barrow Parish Council. Representatives came together to consider how they might best stop large goods vehicles using our narrow streets as a cut-through – especially the B4375 from Wenlock, through Benthall into Broseley. I’m pleased to learn that Shropshire is now going to carry out a feasibility study into how restrictions can be put in place to deter drivers, many reliant upon their SatNav devices, from taking the most direct route and instead using the approved one(s).

There are many instances recorded of lorries causing damage to vehicles and property and, in some cases, getting stuck – to everyone’s inconvenience. The study will be undertaken this financial year with the proposals to hopefully be implemented in 2017-18. As ever, I’ll keep you informed.

Highways

I’m pleased that Shropshire Council has now painted double white lines preventing dangerous overtaking in the hidden dip at Bourton Westwood on the B4378. I’m less pleased that it has taken such a long time for the agreed 40mph speed limit on the B4378 through Shipton to be implemented, I now understand that it is likely to be at the end of May.

Meanwhile in Much Wenlock, the consultation about the reactive HGV traffic lights scheme on the A4169 Sheinton Street received support from the overwhelming majority of people who commented. This is scheduled to be implemented in the summer during the school holiday.

Consultation is imminent about increasing parking restrictions in High Street, Barrow Street, Wilmore Street and Sheinton Street which are aimed at freeing up the centre of town so that vehicles don’t have to mount the footway. This is a danger to pedestrians, to property – at least three recent serious incidents spring to mind, and to the footway itself, which was never designed to bear the weight of cars and lorries. The proposals also provide a dedicated bay for loading and one for Blue Badge holders. Look out for further information in the library, at the Town Council and on Shropshire Council’s website. I will deliver a letter to properties and businesses directly affected in these streets when the consultation period starts.

Also out for consultation with the above parking restrictions, are proposals for double yellow lines at the junction of Queen Street and King Street. This is to prevent vehicles parking near the bus stop, which helps the drivers turn buses round without delay.

The number of large vehicles on our narrow streets, in contravention of weight limits, remains a concern. Wherever there is sufficient evidence to determine that they are not making local deliveries, Shropshire Council writes to the owners providing, where available, photographic evidence. I am quite prepared to continue this practise until we have width restrictions at the top of the High Street and at the end of Sheinton Street by the railway embankment to deter large vehicles.

It seems that the cause of this increasing menace is probably indiscriminate use of satnav systems. There was a debate* in the House of Commons in March about GPS and heavy goods vehicles and I have written to our MP, Philip Dunne, about Much Wenlock’s experience of this problem.

Debate in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 22nd March 2016.

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.