‘It’s too early to judge A602 junction change’ say Herts County Council after latest crash

The scene of the crash at the A602 junction with Charlton Road in Hitchin. Picture: Gerard Francis

The scene of the crash at the A602 junction with Charlton Road in Hitchin. Picture: Gerard Francis - Credit: Archant

Another Park Way prang in the wake of an £89,000 road safety refit has highlighted concerns over the layout of the A602’s junction with Charlton Road.

Monday morning’s rush hour collision between two vehicles caused lengthy tailbacks, but nobody was injured.

Herts County Council carried out the alterations to the junction in April last year – but the new layout is still causing problems.

There have been three other crashes listed in official figures, the first coming soon after the work was finished and two more coming last October.

Councillor Derrick Ashley, who represents Hitchin South at County Hall, said: “The work was intended to improve safety, with such issues identified being taken from statistics gained over a three-year period.

“If there’s a continued run of accidents I will support revisiting this issue.”

Councillor Judi Billing, who represents Hitchin North, said: “Since the project finished, it’s been hard for me to see how it has improved road safety. It also fails to address the very important issue that Hitchin needs a relief road.”

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A County Hall spokesman said: “The junction was identified as a hazardous site based on three years of personal injury collision data reported by the police.

“The alterations to the junction were delivered as part of a casualty reduction project.

“We continue to monitor personal injury collisions and currently have only a years’ worth of data – it is too early for us to judge the effectiveness of the project.

“If a project is deemed not to have successfully reduced the targeted collisions then we’d look to identify the reasons why, and implement further remedial measures where appropriate.”

Offley Road Action Group campaigner Jane Tobitt told the Comet that the layout of the junction has been on their radar, too.

The group is concerned with speeding on the A505 and calling for a pedestrian crossing near Moormead Close, and members met Councillor Ashley on Monday.

Jane said: “We had a positive meeting with Councillor Ashley on Monday evening.

“Various options are on the table and we’re meeting again in December to hear the findings of Herts Highways’ survey on the A505 Offley Road, due to take place soon.”

Traffic coming from Luton on the A505 has the option of turning down Charlton Road to reach Park Way rather than carrying on to the roundabout at the junction with Old Park Road, nearer the town centre – but the popular shortcut regularly causes long queues at the Park Way end and then requires a potentially tricky right turn across the trunk road.

Councillor Ashley said: “Monday’s meeting saw an amicable discussion on what we can do to prevent further accidents on the A505 Offley Road.

“There are things I can do in the short term.

“I do have a budget for putting a traffic refuge in the centre of the Offley Road, and discussions are ongoing as to what else we can do.”