Road used as 'racetrack' despite safety measures
Speeding drivers have left residents questioning the effectiveness of recently installed traffic mitigation measures on a Congleton Road.
A mini roundabout, chicanes, zebra crossing and new markings have all been installed on Padgbury Lane at West Heath, in an effort to slow down traffic and deter drivers from using it as a short-cut to Congleton Link Road when it opens early next year.
But there are already concerns that some drivers are using Padgbury Lane as a “racetrack” with the “starting line” being newly-painted red markings near the Sandbach Road end.
A Padgbury Lane resident and former member of the West Heath Action Group, who did not want to be named, said: “A key point is that the red paint / white triangles on the road are not a common sight and there is no clear indication to drivers what they mean. The council has not provided additional signage to reinforce the 30mph speed limit. Some are interpreting the new markings as a racetrack starting grid.”
They said that despite implementing a new roundabout and chicanes at the southern end of Padgbury Lane, near the junction with the A34, there have been no “substantive” traffic mitigation measures at the northern end of Padgbury Lane near the junction of Sandbach Road, close to Congleton High School.
“The existing 30mph gateway signs are poorly positioned and poorly maintained,” the resident added. “Residents feel they should have been moved to better positions (and cleaned) as part of the mitigation works and/or 30mph painted on the road surface.”
They pointed out that the northern end of Padgbury Lane is a narrow stretch and there is a pavement on only one side of the road.
The resident said: “The attempt to mitigate traffic is all being done at the southern half of Padgbury Lane, towards the junction with the A34.
“But where the traffic is fastest is the northern part and it's dangerous as it's near Congleton High School, where children are crossing the road.”
They believe Cheshire East Council should conduct a formal evaluation of the mitigation measures to find out if they have worked and if not find out if there was further funding for anything else that needs to be done.
“They should find out whether the scheme has worked or not before ticking it off,” said the resident. “If it has not worked in the northern part, what will the council do and has funding been left aside?”
In relation to the Pagdbury Lane junction with the A34 they said: “They've repainted the junction markings and tidied it up but they haven't put traffic lights in or a roundabout.”
There is a filter lane for traffic turning right from Padbgury Lane onto the A34.
They explained that Padgbury Lane residents wanting to get onto the A34 turned onto Sandbach Road and head out of town to Wallhill Lane, instead of having to cross the flow of A34 traffic at the southern end.
“Wallhill Lane is closing for three weeks in October, which will filter even more traffic down Padgbury Lane. Residents on Wallhill Lane have even called for its permanent closure,” the resident added.
They also pointed out that Padgbury Lane is an official route for abnormal loads, which have a police escort.
“For that reason, speed humps could not be used in the mitigation scheme,” they claimed. “I get the sense the solution they went for was not necessarily the best one, but the cheapest.”
Congleton town councillor Amanda Martin said: “I think it's disgraceful that drivers are speeding along there and they should be stopped. The police have been doing a lot of speed checks around Congleton lately and I'm sure they will have seen a video online showing speeding drivers on Padgbury Lane. Anybody speeding on the road is a disgrace.”
She said it was too early to criticise the mitigation measures.
“People think they always know better than Cheshire East Highways. I think it's a case of waiting to see how it works in practice.
“If technical data and experience is anything to go by, they should do a good job but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Coun Martin said she was unaware what the red markings were for, adding: “Maybe they are going to put signs up in relation to those markings.”
Vehicle-activated signs, to monitor and display approaching traffic speeds, will also be introduced on Padgbury Lane.
Cheshire East Council said the measures would also address the long-standing issue of speeding traffic, therefore improving road safety, reducing speed and noise.
The Chronicle asked the council to comment on the speeding concerns that continue despite the traffic mitigation measures now being in place, but it had not responded by deadline yesterday (Wednesday).