LETTER OF THE WEEK: Premature to start rejoicing at blackspot improvement plans

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I am sure many readers and residents were pleased to read your article (November 18) regarding the Wheatsheaf Crossroads, as more than 10,500 people signed the petition for improvements to this accident blackspot and the planned installation of traffic lights or a roundabout.

However, I fear it is very premature to start rejoicing as Cambridgeshire county councillor Steve Criswell had already advised the St Ives & District Road Safety Committee on October 28 that the traffic light option was proving problematic and they were now exploring the staggered crossroad option.

Design work for the junction has, as feared, revealed how problematic delivering a traffic light controlled junction will be.

The complexity of utilities under the verge is a major problem – particularly broadband fibre.

This has caused work to commence on the staggered junction option to see if this is more deliverable. It is not my preference, but has proved successful elsewhere.


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If major improvements do eventually take place, they could take some years, meanwhile frustrations are caused by Cambridgeshire Highways not undertaking some simple quick interim measures to reduce the risk at that junction now: ie: high vis warning signs, possible red tarmac on the junction and reduction of the speed limit. A speed limit reduction was applied when water mains were being laid along the verge earlier this year, so why not until an improvement is made. This lack of action is resulting in further accidents causing serious injury and death.

I note that on the guided bus way between Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, due to a number of accidents with cyclists, CCC installed a 30mph limit, but a 40mph is not possible at Wheatfields. There seems to be no consistency in CCC road safety decisions.

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I fear it is only a matter of time before we have yet another fatal accident, whereas the risks of this happening could be reduced given some appropriate safety measures.

Their standard reply seems to be ”the accident was down to driver error”, are not most accidents down to error? Surely one of the Highways Department’s main responsibilities is to help reduce the risk of a driver making an error by ensuring adequate warnings and road design. Cambridgeshire Highways needs to maintain the white markings to ensure they are visible and not allow them to become erased by frequent hard braking as frequently happens.

Roy Fabb

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