17 Jun 2008 : Column 11P

17 Jun 2008 : Column 11P


Tuesday 17 June 2008



Road Safety (A5 Chequers Hill)

The Petition of those concerned about the intersection of the A5/Chequers hill, Flamstead,

Declares that they live in the vicinity of a dangerous intersection (A5/Chequers Hill, Flamstead), which they are forced to use in order to gain access to Harpenden, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Luton and Dunstable for reasons of employment, travel, medical care and shopping. While they understand that a traffic light scheme may not rate highly in the Value for Money criteria normally employed when assessing road improvement schemes, but submit that, in this case, the normal criteria should be tempered by the knowledge that it involves the fifth most important trunk road in the country which, at this point, is accommodating traffic that has just left the M1 motorway and, despite a 50 mph speed limit, is travelling at killing speed. Further confusion is caused by vehicles whose direction indicators have not been cancelled after turning left at this point. This has encouraged frustrated motorists to pull out onto the A5 in front of them.

Further declares that the situation is causing distress and fear to local residents by reason of the high number of unreported 'damage only' accidents that occur and the high number of 'near misses'. Traffic congestion of between 17 and 33 vehicles backed up between Chequers Hill and waiting to join the A5 at this point have been noted between 8.00am and 8.30am on many mornings.

Further declares that agreement to treat this junction as a special case and install traffic lights would have a significant and positive effect on the well being of residents of this area and on through traffic on the A5.

17 Jun 2008 : Column 12P

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Transport to find ways and means of providing a traffic light controlled system at this dangerous junction, as recommended in the A5 Chequers Hill Review Study, carried out on behalf of the Highways Agency (Works Order No 96525), by Carillion URS in July 2007.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Mike Penning , Official Report, 4 June 2008; Vol. 476, c. 891 .] [P000187]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:

The Secretary of State acknowledges the concerns of the petitioners regarding this location. The Highways Agency's study looked at several possible ways by which they could improve the safety and congestion problems experienced by drivers accessing the A5 trunk road from Chequers Hill at Flamstead. The study did not recommend any improvement scheme for inclusion in the future programme for funding.

The Agency considered the possibility of installing traffic signals at the junction to make it easier for drivers to access the A5 trunk road from Chequers Hill. When the report was analysed in detail they discovered that they were unable to provide an economic justification to promote a traffic signalisation scheme or any other scheme in the foreseeable future.

There were a number of reasons provided for this. Firstly, it was recognised that there had been a number of personal injury accidents in recent years at and near this junction. Analysis showed that the introduction of traffic signals would only result in a minimal reduction in the number of accidents. The economic analysis showed that the savings from this reduction were outweighed by the increased delays to traffic on the A5, particularly throughout the day, as a result of the introduction of signals.

The Agency also considered the outline costs of the junction redesign, moving statutory undertaker equipment, as well as the increased journey time cost to travellers on the A5 trunk road by the introduction of traffic signals at this location. All these factors contributed to the scheme not rating sufficiently highly to take it further into the forward works programme.

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