Slip road debate rages

A1(M) Junction Letchworth Gate. On Wednesday last the Town Council debated this matter again. The Council had extended an invitation to the Highways Authority to send a representative to address the meeting but this was declined and instead they forwarded

A1(M) Junction Letchworth Gate. On Wednesday last the Town Council debated this matter again. The Council had extended an invitation to the Highways Authority to send a representative to address the meeting but this was declined and instead they forwarded a written summary of the background, operation, trial and current situation.

They reported that the operation of the junction had improved, that the queues and tailback problems on the slip road and motorway had been removed, and that only two reportable (I presume injury accidents) and several damage only accidents had been recorded. To this I would say, if the junction is so improved, why are users still complaining (letters in The Comet in the last three weeks).

Could the mere fact that the new slip road is slightly longer and for part of its length is now three lanes instead of the original two account for the improvement in queues, and using accident statistics is flawed because everyone knows that very few damage only accidents are reported to the police these days.

It was also reported that the HCC were in favour of the introduction of a 'no left turn' sign at the junction, but that the Highways Authority and the police had reservations on the question of enforceability. Surely this argument could be applied to every traffic sign in the country. The only signs enforceable are those where a police officer or technical device is in situ to enforce them.


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We know that regular users of this junction have found ways to safely negotiate it, by turning left at the traffic lights, or if using the Letchworth slip road stopping well short of the 'give way' signs where they have a good view to the right and then accelerating away as soon as the traffic signals on the roundabout change to red.

Should this have to be the case? What do strangers to this junction do? If you drive up to the give way signs the view to the right, even after the tinkering done by the Highways Authority is still extremely poor, and still potentially dangerous for the stranger or unwary.

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Options regarding this junction will be discussed at the North Herts Highway Joint Member Panel in April, to which your Town Council intend to be represented. As in the past I have requested the views of the Letchworth motoring public on this question, and I am asking again. If public opinion is not strong enough on the issue, I can see us being stuck with this badly engineered and potentially dangerous junction forever.

Don't let public apathy defeat us.

CHRIS HARLOW, Vice Chairman, Letchworth Garden, City Council

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