More traffic signs set for Hitchin and Letchworth

A traffic information sign in Broadhall Way, Stevenage

A traffic information sign in Broadhall Way, Stevenage - Credit: Archant

MORE traffic information signs are set to be installed across Comet country.

A map showing where traffic information signs could be built in Hitchin

A map showing where traffic information signs could be built in Hitchin - Credit: Archant

A dozen signs providing real time traffic updates are expected to go live in the Stevenage area this week at an initial cost of £201,724, but more are on the way.

Some of the proposed Letchworth GC sites for the signs

Some of the proposed Letchworth GC sites for the signs - Credit: Archant

The Hertfordshire County Council officer leading the project told the Comet that five more signs are due to be installed in both Hitchin and Letchworth GC in 2014 and 2015.

The signs, operated from a County Hall control centre, warn motorists about incidents as they happen and provide updates on car parking capacity.

Last week Stevenage county councillors said potholes should be the priority, and the leader of the North Herts Labour group agrees.

District councillor David Billing, who represents the Hitchin Oughton ward, said: “I think they are right – £200,000 is a lot of money and it could be used for potholes. There are potholes that get constantly reported in Hitchin in Fishponds Road and Bedford Road which never get repaired properly. I think that’s more important than having signs.”

Cllr Billing also called for consultation with district councillors and the public about their placement, adding: “Local people often have better ideas than the county council.”

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Letchworth GC and Baldock county councillor Michael Muir said in his experience if the public report potholes they will be repaired.

About the signs, he added: “I think they are a good thing and I don’t think the money is being wasted.”

The signs will be installed on both A-roads and B-roads, coded on the map in orange and yellow, respectively, and form part of a county-wide strategy to ease and prevent congestion which has been developed by the county council’s transport panel since 2008.

Herts County Council’s highways operations and strategies group manager for North Herts and Stevenage Sanjay Patel said: “We have started with the most congested towns and are working our way up the A1(M).

“If there is an incident in Stevenage or the A1(M) which affects the road network we can put messages out and divert traffic. If at 7am on Gunnels Wood Road it’s 10 minutes from ‘A to B’ and then it changes to 15 minutes we can remotely change traffic light times in the area to help clear the road and improve the traffic flow.

“I know people say you have spent £200,000 on these signs but the business case is we save on call outs. We can deal with problems remotely or proactively.”

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