‘24-hour traffic nightmare’ fear when link road opens

A country lane “will become a 24-hour traffic nightmare” when the Congleton link road opens, it has been claimed.
Fears for Wallhill Lane’s future come amid concerns that planned traffic-calming measures have now been scrapped, with some residents believing that the route will be used to channel traffic from the A34.
According to residents, planning permission for traffic-calming measures on the lane were an “integral part” of the link road but officials at Cheshire East Council have now “ditched” them.
Wallhill Lane sits at the end of where the link road is to be built, just below Sandy Lane. While the plans for the road were being drawn up, there were concerns that drivers not wanting to traverse through Congleton on the A34 would take the three-minute rat-run along Wallhill Lane in order to connect with the link road.
The residents said that to prevent this happening, Cheshire East had a draft plan for traffic-calming measures since 2014.
As reported previously in the Chronicle, several residents of the rural lane have said the best way to calm traffic would be to cut off access completely, other than to residents.
Wallhill resident Gerald Wells said: “Closure would be the quickest, cheapest, most effective plan.”
An anonymous resident said: “Travelling along Wallhill Lane and connecting with the link road will take around three minutes, even with traffic-calming measures. The alternative is to drive through Congleton on the A34 and through seven sets of traffic lights.
“No one would prefer to do that, particularly at night when traffic numbers are reduced and traffic-calming measures are ineffective. Our lane will be a 24-hour traffic nightmare.”
Mr Wells said residents were consulted five years ago on Cheshire East’s draft plan for the traffic-calming measures, but were told recently that they were “fatally flawed”. He said this was because the measures would have to be brightly lit from end to end so that they were visible at night.
According to residents, Cheshire East has now said the planning permission that meant the traffic-calming measures would have to be in place before the link road was finished have been ditched.
In June the Chronicle spoke to Darren Furlong, who lives at the “pinch point” on the lane and was particularly concerned about increased traffic due to previous incidents.
He said: “My wife was coming into the drive and someone had a head-on collision with her. How someone hasn’t been killed I don’t know.”
Cheshire East Council deputy leader Craig Browne said: “We have consulted widely on measures for the Wallhill area (Wallhill Lane, Childs Lane and Brownlow Heath Road), which has revealed opposing views within the local community on what measures are appropriate.
“Following consultations, we will be installing a range of measures prior to the link road opening in autumn 2020 and will review the effect of the link road on the area once it is open and traffic has settled into stable patterns.”
The measures to be installed include:
● Provision of ‘give way’ markings either side of the pinch point on Wallhill Lane;
● ‘Oncoming vehicles in middle of road’ vehicle-activated sign, at the pinch point;
● Refreshed edge of carriageway markings at the pinch point;
● Two ‘Slow down crossroads ahead’ vehicle-activated signs at the Wallhill Lane crossroads on Childs Lane;
● Extended footway on Brownlow Heath Road; and
● Improved road markings and solar road studs on Brownlow Heath Road, near Sandy Lane. 
Coun Browne added: “Should future traffic patterns become significantly increased, in line with the planning conditions, we may take forward an experimental road closure of Wallhill Lane. This would only be put into place following post link road opening monitoring and consultations.”