Safety fears despite £90,000 junction work in Hitchin

Emergency services at the scene of the crash in Park Way, Hitchin. Credit: @AmboOfficer via Twitter

Emergency services at the scene of the crash in Park Way, Hitchin. Credit: @AmboOfficer via Twitter - Credit: Archant

A junction which was altered at a cost of almost £90,000 in a bid to reduce the number of accidents had to be closed last week following a car crash.

Work to modify the junction for Charlton Road from the A602 in Hitchin was completed last month to stop motorists from turning right from Park Way into Charlton Road.

The roadworks were carried out on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) at a cost of £88,600 to try to reduce accidents, after eight people were injured in crashes at the junction over a three-year period up to December 2012.

Last Thursday, May 8, the junction – which leads to Charlton village – was shut after two cars collided, with one ending up in a ditch and crashing into a tree. No one was injured.

Charlton resident John Pearce told the Comet that his wife Marilyn was involved in a crash the day before.


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Mr Pearce, who campaigned to have a mini roundabout at the junction instead, said: “I said that the new layout did nothing to address safety issues and indeed made things worse.

“Prior to the alterations drivers had a fairly clear view of traffic coming from the left, as it was in front of you. Now, when isolated in the centre of the road, most drivers are having to look back over their left shoulder to see if the road is clear. This is because there is little room to line up square to the bypass and cars are stopping on the angle.

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“This is precisely what happened to my wife and in pulling out she collided with a van coming from the left. She and the other driver are thankfully unhurt, though our VW Polo needed to be recovered and taken off for repair.

“In my opinion the right turn on this junction is now more dangerous than it was prior to the alterations.”

The 60-year-old added that a review now needed to take place of the design of the junction to “save unnecessary loss of life”.

Writing on the Comet website following last Thursday’s crash, Margaret Avery said: “In the few weeks that this junction has been reopened, I have witnessed several ‘near’ accidents, with oncoming traffic on Park Way having to break heavily to avoid hitting cars coming from Charlton Road trying to get into the newly created ‘central area’ on Park Way. It is a great pity that traffic lights or a roundabout were not given greater consideration.

“I’m afraid the highest cost of all will be paid in human life and it will take these fatalities to ultimately change this ill-conceived, nonsensical layout.”

A spokesman for HCC said: “We understand the residents have concerns. Engineers have visited the junction to observe the new layout in operation and the results are being considered.”

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