New speed calming measure installed following ‘years of complaints’ about road

Councillor Mike Shellens in Sapley Road. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Councillor Mike Shellens in Sapley Road. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The removal of a “dangerous” chicane on a Huntingdon road has been welcomed by a councillor.

Some of the completed works in Sapley Road. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Some of the completed works in Sapley Road. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

In a survey using his own speed gun, Councillor Mike Shellens found that only a quarter of vehicles were at or below the 30mph speed limit in Sapley Road, where the chicane was installed as a safety measure some years ago.

But Cllr Shellens said the chicane, pushed traffic on to the "wrong" side of the road in order to get past and was also on top of the Desborough Road junction, which added to the problem when vehicles tried to get out and join the main road.

Now Cambridgeshire County Council has replaced the chicane with a tabletop hump.

Cllr Shellens, who represents Huntingdon North and Hartford, said: "This removes the previous very dangerous situation where cars coming downhill, often too quickly, were forced on to the wrong side of the road to pass the chicane.

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"This meant that they were directly in the path of both the uphill traffic and traffic emerging from the adjacent Desborough Road."

The chicanes, featuring a platform and a bollard in the nearside lane, were difficult to spot and involved a number of collisions and near misses.

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He said the situation had been the source of many complaints, with some drivers feeling nervous as they approached the junction.

"Replacement of the chicane was the most commented upon complaint in this area over many years," Cllr Shellens said.

He organised a survey of options for replacing the chicane and the full width tabletop hump was the most popular choice - narrowly beating a "smiley face" radar device showing traffic speed after police warned that in some areas the reading became a target which drivers set out to beat.

Cllr Shellens said it had taken years of campaigning to get the chicane replaced, requiring finance and support from the county, district and town councils, as well as input from police traffic experts and road engineers.

He said: "Sapley Road is over a mile long and is largely downhill and straight. Although it is a 30mph zone this speed is often flouted.

"In an earlier speed survey with my own speed gun I found that just 26 per cent of vehicles were at or below the speed limit."

He added: "The chicanes were installed many years ago in an attempt to control speed but simply replaced one problem with another and also encouraged some bad drivers to try to beat the oncoming vehicle.

"The full speed ramp will certainly reduce speed in this area."

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