‘A complete and utter death trap’ – A1(M) Letchworth Gate filter lane targeted by petition

Drivers struggling to see traffic coming from the right as they exit the slip road from A1(M) northb

Drivers struggling to see traffic coming from the right as they exit the slip road from A1(M) northbound at J9 coming on to Letchworth Gate. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Thousands of motorists have signed an online petition calling for the closure of an infamous A1(M) filter lane condemned as “the worst-designed slip road in history”.

The slip road from A1(M) northbound at J9 coming on to Letchworth Gate. Picture: Danny Loo

The slip road from A1(M) northbound at J9 coming on to Letchworth Gate. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The petition, started by Katy Howard on Saturday, calls for the closure of the northbound filter lane coming off Junction 9 for Letchworth Gate – which it calls a “a complete and utter death trap”.

Herts County Council’s highways department, to which the plea is directed, says there have been no fatal or serious crashes at the junction in the past five years.

Katy said: “There are numerous accidents there ranging from minor bumps and shunts to major accidents needing hospital treatment.

“I want this awful filter lane to be closed once and for all. Not only have you got to crane your neck at such an awkward angle, but you also have to look out for the other drivers that like to come up from the A1(M) – trying to beat the queue of the filter lane – and then turn left, making this silly slip road even harder.


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“You can’t even use your mirrors to see properly as the bend of the filter lane widens out.

“I feel that closing that filter lane would be the best option. People who want to turn left can go when the traffic light changes, making life so much easier.

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“Then you wouldn’t be having to crane your neck or watch drivers come up from the A1(M) who want to jump the queue, nearly causing an accident every five minutes.”

As of Thursday morning, Katy’s petition had just topped 3,000 digital signatures.

Those supporting the petition include Christine Wallis, from Wallington, who said: “I have already had to alter my route to avoid this junction as I have had three near misses there due to lack of visibility when turning. The turn is too tight to be able to crane your neck far enough to see oncoming traffic.”

Stevenage driving instructor Allen Shadbolt said: “I use this junction and couldn’t believe this ever got approval. It needs to be scrapped or controlled by a traffic light filter system.”

Potton’s Michael Montgomery added: “This has to be the worst-designed slip road in history.”

Ralph Sangster, Herts County Council cabinet member for highways, said there was no plan to close the slip road.

Councillor Ralph Sangster, who is responsible for highways at Herts County Council. Picture: David H

Councillor Ralph Sangster, who is responsible for highways at Herts County Council. Picture: David Hartnup - Credit: Archant

He told the Comet: “Ensuring that residents feel safe on the roads is extremely important to us at Hertfordshire County Council and we continually monitor our road network taking our resident’s feedback into consideration.

“We are aware of a petition calling for changes to the Letchworth Gate junction filter lane on the A1(M), which was installed to address congestion and the record of serious casualty accidents.

“While we appreciate that some may have concerns about drivers using these filter lanes to turn left, our records show that in the last five years there have been no fatal or serious casualties at this junction.

“At this stage Letchworth Gate has not been identified for any immediate works but we will continue to monitor the situation and will take on board any petition that is presented to us by concerned residents.”

You can see the petition for yourself at change.org/p/herts-county-council-s-highways-close-letchworth-gate-junction-filter-lane-northbound.

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