Call for better signage to prevent lorries driving through Huntingdonshire villages

Shire Hall Cambridge.

Shire Hall Cambridge. - Credit: Archant

Better signage is needed to stop HGVs speeding and driving through Huntingdonshire villages while work is carried out on the A14, councillors have said.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s highways and community infrastructure committee heard on July 10 that large lorries and other traffic were taking inappropriate routes while looking for ways to avoid roadworks on the A14.

The committee heard more needed to be done to make sure traffic, and HGVs in particular, stuck to the correct diversion routes, and also kept to the speed limit.

Councillor Mathew Shuter, chairman of the highways and community infrastructure committee, said councillors should “pressurise” Highways England into providing better signage to encourage HGVs and other vehicles to keep to the speed limit and stick to the proper diversion routes.

Cllr Shuter said: “We are all grateful for the massive job Highways England is doing on the A14, but they need to understand the impact it is having on the local community.

“We need better signage. I would expect Highways England to have specific speed indicator signs to at least indicate to lorries, and other vehicles on the road, they are breaking the speed limit. I do appreciate the situation and I would like to see us all pressurise Highways England into doing more.”

Councillor Simon King said villages were being subjected to HGV traffic due to diversions off the A14.

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“Kimbolton and Alconbury are also having these problems,” said Cllr King. “Highways England have not signposted the diversion very well. HGVs cut through the villages of Grafham and Ellington. We need better signage to stop HGVs going the wrong way.”

Councillor David Jenkins said there were often problems for people reporting incidents, and suggested the county council’s website was made easier to use to encourage more people to call out speeding lorries.

“It is simply a matter of communication,” said Cllr Jenkins. “There needs to be easy access to information. Our website is not the most transparent news website, but something on the front page for people to access might help.”

A Highways England spokesman said: “We are working very hard to help ensure that drivers use the signed diversion route, working in partnership with police, local authorities and haulage groups.

“We have added additional signs further away from Cambridgeshire to alert HGVs of any road closures, we share our roadworks plans with hauliers, and at some locations we have deployed traffic marshals to redirect long distance traffic which has ignored the diversion signs away for local roads and onto the agreed diversion routes.

The spokesman added that officials “are aware” that some drivers do not use the diversion along the A428 and the A1198 and use the roads through Ellington and Grafham as an alternative.

He added: “We always strongly encourage drivers to stick to the clearly signed diversion route that is in place overnight. It was carefully chosen as the most suitable route for the type and volume of traffic that usually uses the A14 at night, and was agreed with Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire police. This is to ensure the right traffic remains on roads which are suitable and safe for that traffic.”