No Action on Danger Junction

HOPES that safety features might eventually be introduced at a notorious motorway junction have been dashed by Herts County Council (HCC). When the filter lane at junction 9 Letchworth Gate on the A1(M) was completed in December 2006 it provoked an avalan

HOPES that safety features might eventually be introduced at a notorious motorway junction have been dashed by Herts County Council (HCC).

When the filter lane at junction 9 Letchworth Gate on the A1(M) was completed in December 2006 it provoked an avalanche of criticism by motorists saying it was dangerous.

Since then there have been numerous accidents, including two last week, but the problems are unlikely to be resolved soon.

A letter from Cllr Stuart Pile, HCC's executive member for highways, transport and rural affairs, to Cllr Chris Harlow, vice chairman of Letchworth Garden City Council, and a statement from HCC this week clearly show the junction's notoriety will remain.

HCC's statement said: "While there have been accidents at the junction following the change of layout, a before and after study shows the change has resulted in an improvement over the situation before the work was carried out, when there were queues back on to the motorway resulting in accidents involving vehicles going at higher speeds.

"While there have been calls for the signals to be altered, our consultants consider that this will not help the situation and is likely to make it worse. They consider the only way to resolve the problem is to improve the capacity of Letchworth Gate by creating an additional lane."

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In the letter to Cllr Harlow, last December, Cllr Pile says: "Since its opening the scheme has been effective in removing the queues and the associated serious collisions. We are aware of the significant concerns about the layout of the junction/roundabout itself, albeit that current accident levels there are no higher than they were before the signals were introduced.

"Regarding your suggestion to introduce a left turn ban at the signals at the top of the slip road, this requires the approval of the Highways Agency. Their response to our request for a trial order was that they were doubtful about the legality of such an order and would only give approval with the full support of the police. The police did not support such an order.

"There are no further improvements that can be made at the junction."

Cllr David Levett of North Herts District Council: "We will keep pushing to make this junction safer. The only way something is going to get down is if someone gets seriously hurt there.

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