Posts Tagged ‘highways’

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 in Much Wenlock

Shropshire Council is resurfacing more roads in and around Much Wenlock. The A458 from the Gaskell Arms to the Primary School is receiving attention first. Then the contractors will move into St Mary’s Road, which will have to be closed periodically. The two car parks will receive patch repairs where necessary and the approach into Falcons Court will see the paviours removed part way to be replaced by tarmac. This will hopefully encourage more drivers to use Falcons Court’s 46 spaces and take some pressure off our busy streets. The paviours will be taken back into Shropshire Council’s stock for future use.

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6 weeeks?!

Over the past couple of years, and partly as a result of efforts I’ve made to ensure that my Much Wenlock division gets at least its fair share of a tight highways budget, we’ve seen Harley hill, Barrow Street, Bourton Road, Wilmore Street, Merrywell Lane, The Bentlands, The Row and Oakfield Park resurfaced. Of course, there’s also been major work on the B4378 between Bourton and Brockton. And I’ve been assured that the Walton hills estate roads are in the budget for the coming financial year.

Roadworks – mostly good news

I’m pleased that there’s further work being undertaken on our roads locally in response to my representations. The top part of Oakfield Park will be resurfaced between 4th to 22nd July with the improvements also extending to the footways. There will be a letter drop to local residents giving more detail, and arrangements for refuse collections etc.

From 4th – 6th July King Street will be closed for a drainage investigation and pipe replacement.

There will also be roadworks on the A4169 The Crescent and Sheinton Street in Much Wenlock from 27th July to 21st August. This is to install permanent two-way traffic signals to address problems in the narrow part of the road which happen when large vehicles meet. The consultation event on 15th January resulted in some minor changes being made to the proposals and, overall, the response from local residents was very positive. Although deliberately scheduled for the school holidays to reduce inconvenience, these works will cause considerable disruption, so please allow more time for your journeys.

Looking further ahead, the third and final section of Merrywell Lane is scheduled for completion 26th July to 5th August. The Row will be closed at Easthope 29th August to 6th September for much-needed resurfacing.

As always, the timing of these works is subject to change, so look out the latest information in the press and on notice boards locally.

roadworks

All of the above works are being carried out on behalf of Shropshire Council.

Of course, other bodies excavate our roads to access their equipment etc., and it doesn’t always go according to plan. One such event was a couple of weeks ago on Sunday 22nd May when Severn Trent Water closed Much Wenlock High Street (with permission for one day), but didn’t complete the work. If they’d worked a full day it would have helped! They had to come back on the Monday morning to complete the work and open the road. This involved breaches of their works permit and the road closure order, and Shropshire Council has taken Severn Trent Water to task for this disruption.

No through road

Residents in the quiet residential street of Swan Meadow in Much Wenlock have had to tolerate all manner of vehicles driving in and turning round, when they find that there is only a footway through to neighbouring Hunters Gate. The menace of SatNav, which I wrote about last month, is probably the cause of the problem. Hopefully my action in getting this little symbol added to the road sign may deter all but the most optimistic drivers now. swan meadow

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.

Highways resurfacing

I am pleased to report that the long-awaited rebuilding of part of the Merrywell Lane carriageway has been completed. Stretton Road at the A458 end is also much improved by resurfacing and Bridge Road will soon be resurfaced

Highways resurfacing

Shropshire Council intends to re-surface part of Merrywell Lane, which runs between the A458 Bridgnorth Road at Walton Grange and the B4376 Broseley road near Marsh Cottages. The work will involve the removal of about 300 yards of the existing surface and relaying a new surface. This work is funded by the financial penalty levied on National Grid Gas for the overrun on its pipe renewal works on the B4373 Broseley to Bridgnorth last year.

This much-needed work will probably take place at half term, week commencing 25th October. Diversions will be in place – please check and watch out for advisory signs. Further work on this lane will be scheduled when funding allows.

The website www.roadworks.org is a useful resource for checking on roadworks, diversion routes and the reasons for the work. Around 70% of the roadworks in the county are not on behalf of Shropshire Council but are undertaken for gas, electricity, telephone and water works.

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.

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.