Five miles: six speed changes on Hartford-St Ives road

SPEED limits on the A1123 between Hartford and St Ives look set look set to be reduced – leaving motorists with six changes of speed limit on a journey between St Ives and Huntingdon. The changes, which are expected to be backed by the district s traffic

SPEED limits on the A1123 between Hartford and St Ives look set look set to be reduced - leaving motorists with six changes of speed limit on a journey between St Ives and Huntingdon.

The changes, which are expected to be backed by the district's traffic management committee on Monday (January 18), apply to the stretch between the A141 roundabout at Hartford and the St Ives boundary on Houghton Road.

Currently, the national speed limit (60mph for cars, 40mph for heavy lorries) applies to the whole stretch.

But the committee is expected to reduce that to 50mph for cars, except for the 750 metres (just under half a mile) between Houghton cemetery and the top of Houghton Hill, which will become 40mph.


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This means the speed limit will change six times in the five miles (eight km) between Huntingdon's ring road and the Hill Rise entrance to St Ives.

Several councillors - including Huntingdonshire District Council's leader Ian Bates, who represents the area on Cambridgeshire County Council - and many residents of Houghton and Wyton and their parish council have pressed for the whole stretch between the Hartford roundabout and Houghton Road, St Ives to attract a 40mph limit.

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But traffic engineers say speed limits must be effectively self-enforcing, meaning speed limits are set at whatever speed vehicles already travel, even though the stretch of single-carriageway A1123 has seen nearly 50 injury-accidents in three years, 31 of which involved excessive speed. Two of the 31 were fatal.

County council engineers claim drivers would see a 40mph limit throughout as 'inappropriate', though they will consider reducing the 50mph to 40mph between the St Ives boundary and the B1090 Sawtry Way junction when 300 new homes are built on Houghton Hill - a stretch that it in any case scheduled to attract an extended 30mph limit when a bus lane is installed at part of the residential development.

Cllr Bates said this week that the present proposal was "a reasonable compromise" with what he had originally called for, but he would not be averse to members of the committee deciding to opt for a lower limit.

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