Battle to improve Hitchin road

A TWO-YEAR battle to improve safety on a lane connecting two major roads has reached a dead end.

Residents living on Charlton Road and its surrounding areas have been fighting to get conditions improved on their roads, which connect the A505 and A602.

They claim that the roads, which see tens of thousands of journeys a week, cannot cope with the strain as it is. Upper Tilehouse Street is meant to be the main route, but people often cut through Charlton Road instead.

Paul O’Shaughnessy, who lives in the Charlton Road triangle, has been fighting for measures to be implemented to improve safety.

As well as collecting signatures for a petition, he has figures which show that of the 53,000 vehicles using the route a week, 12,000 speed at prosecutable levels, and more than 250 overweight HGVs and coaches use the roads.

“Every morning and evening, traffic is backed up from the Charlton Road/A602 Parkway junction for several hundred metres as drivers risk life and limb to get across two lanes of fast moving A-road traffic,” said Mr O’Shaughnessy.

“There are people who have seen the aftermath of vehicle accidents because of speeding along [the road], pedestrians ducking to avoid the overweight vehicle wing mirrors that stick out and accounts of accidents/fatalities at the junction. You only need to stand at this junction at 7.30am to 8am to witness the nerve-wracking sight of cars risking the rare breaks in traffic.”

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Mr O’Shaughnessy, who has been in contact with district and county councillors, Herts Highways, police and MPs, added that he didn’t have a problem with cars using the road, but that measures such as a roundabout, resurfacing and speed calming needed to be introduced.

“If that’s the road that people are going to use, then something needs to be done,” he said.

Hawthorne Close resident Laurie Cobbett, who has lived in the area for nearly 30 years, added: “When I walk down the road, it’s dangerous and I’ve had to duck a few times to avoid being hit.

“I’m not sure there should be access, or if there is, there should be a size limit. There needs to be something to reduce the traffic.

“I’ve lived here a while, and I’ve seen lots of accidents, which is not nice.”

A county council spokesman said: “We have looked into this matter extensively.

“At the current time restricting traffic from accessing this non-residential country lane would bring traffic to a standstill in Hitchin. We urge all motorists to take care while driving, keep within speed limits and allow plenty of time for journeys.”