BARRIERS installed alongside one of Saddleworth’s major routes could actually be putting pedestrians in danger, it has been claimed.
Oldham Council put in the protective equipment along the A670 Standedge Road on the hills above Diggle.
But at one end the verge is so narrow that walkers have to enter the carriageway to get around it, according to one concerned resident.
The man, who did not wish to be named, said: “People are having to walk in the middle of the road.
“And it’s a road where cars can go very fast. There have been problems of cars roaring down the hill for years.
“However, this appears to actually send people into the road – the barriers are in the middle of where people would walk!”
His worries and those of another local woman have been taken up by Saddleworth Parish Councillor Luke Lancaster. He has written to Oldham Council, saying: “The resident’s concerns are that, due to the positioning of the barrier, she believes she will no longer be able to use the grass verge/path and will have to walk in the road, which of course poses safety issues. “
The barrier scheme is believed to have been part of a bigger project funded by the Department for Transport lasting almost 10 kilometres along the route of the A670 straddling both Oldham and Tameside.
In a funding application document, seen by the Saddleworth Independent, the authorities spell out their case.
It states: “The bid proposals are intended to deliver a series of measures targeted at reducing the number and severity of injury collisions taking place along a section of the A670 identified by the Road Safety Foundation.
“Where appropriate, our interventions will take the form of bespoke countermeasures intended to benefit vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
“The area is situated along a section of the A670 corridor that extends from Mossley (Tameside) up to its junction with the A62 in Saddleworth (Oldham).
“We anticipate the overall impact of this project on several of the protected groups, including disabled people, non-motorised road users, including those with a sensory disability, those in wheelchairs and those with prams and pushchairs, will be positive.”
The A670, which runs into Uppermill centre then through Grasscroft into Mossley, has seen several safety measures in recent years but in the document, it is admitted they have had little effect on the number of serious collisions, described as KSIs.
It adds: “Historically the ‘all injury’ collision record has improved significantly since 1999. However a KSI rate of 1.5 collisions per year is still evident over a similar period (Oldham section).
“The route locations and surrounding villages attracts a significant amount of leisure visitors. A key highlight of the KSI data since 1999 includes 46 per cent of the collisions recorded in the Uppermill area involving pedestrians, higher than the current borough average of 38 per cent.
“The proposals are a combination of interventions to address a) existing road safety issues that are evident along the A670 route resulting in injury collision, damage only crashes or near misses and b) the outcome to the Safer Road Investment Plan assessment carried out by the Road Safety Foundation.”
Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Culture, said:
“We want drivers and pedestrians to feel safe when using our roads.“Our teams are constantly looking at how we can improve safety and that’s why we’ve installed the barriers on Standedge Road.
“This is a very steep section of road and vehicles travel down in at speed.
“These new barriers are designed so that if a driver loses control of their vehicle they will absorb some of the impact and deflect it back into the road, hopefully mitigating the severity of any collision.
“The footways have been kept open and the barriers arguably give better protection to people using them.”