DENSHAW IS to be included in a Highways England ‘agreed diversion routes’ trial after months of residents campaigning for traffic improvements.
After public meetings convened by Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams, Highways England (HE) have pledged to include the village in a pilot programme.
It aims to look at the village being used as a diversion route off the M62, which can cause massive gridlocks along with drivers ignoring speed limits and a busy five-way junction.
Mrs Abrahams said: “I have had confirmation from HE a trial will be taking place in the north west and the diversionary route will be included in the pilot programme.
“HE have told me the trial will be from November through to March next year to benchmark the current status of ‘agreed diversion routes’.
“This is to devise a plan for bringing them up to a standard in the short and long term and put together a plan for a national rollout.”
She added: “This means Denshaw’s use as a diversion route will be one of the first to be reviewed nationally and HE will gain an understanding of the current issues associated with it.
“The trial will also identify what further measures and improvements are needed to ensure the route meets the nationally agreed standard.”
HE will liaise with Oldham Highways and there will be an opportunity for the Council to input into the pilot scheme, while residents will also receive feedback.
Alan Roughley, chair of the village community association, has been leading the campaign for traffic improvements.
He said: “Denshaw is ruined by traffic. For more than 40 years there have been vociferous complaints to the Highways authorities and the police but without result.
“Recent speed tests revealed the average speed on each of the five roads that meet in the centre of the village is well above the 30mph limit.
“The other major problem is we are on the only diversionary route when the M62 is closed between Junction 21-22 and/or Junction 22-23.
“All the M62 traffic channelled onto the single lanes of our local roads causes complete gridlock in minutes. A recent major disruption lasted eleven hours.”
He continued: “Everybody who lives in and around the village is a member of the community association and we are determined to have another go at these worsening problems.
“In times of local government austerity it will not be easy but we are negotiating with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), GMP, Oldham Council and HE.
“Our MP is fully supportive and we have started to make several small but significant steps.
“Once we know technically what can be done, we have to line up the public bodies that both have a responsibility and available funding.
“We would like to thank all local motorists who supported our recent petition,” he added.
“Their comments were very useful and remind us any improvements will benefit the whole of Saddleworth.”