Not so magic roundabout! Roadworks scheme ‘baffles’ councillors

OLDHAM Council has admitted parking spaces were erroneously removed during roadworks and junction modifications in Dobcross.

But the Council insists the installation, removal and then subsequent replacement of a mini roundabout at the junction of Wool Road and Sugar Lane was all included in the initial schedule of works.

It also rejects some local conjecture an incorrect surface had been introduced leading to a number of recent accidents.

Roadworks at the junction of Sugar Lane

However, rival councillors united to express concern and disappointment at how the “wasteful roadworks” plan was implemented.

Garth Harkness, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North, sought clarification why parking layouts were changed without notice on Wool Road leading to the loss of several spaces.

He also expressed bafflement at the line painting and roundabout installation only a few weeks before resurfacing.

Cllr Harkness said: “The latest proposals came out in January and we were told there would be no changes to the parking arrangements on the Navigation Inn side.

“The contractors painted lines on June 20 and there was a gap where the layout has changed before the lay-by.

“This means three or four car spaces have been lost on what was agreed and what has been painted.

Roundabout installed at the junction

“I questioned at the time why they painted the road lines and installed a roundabout because the road is going to be resurfaced and will need to be re-painted.

“The contractors had been instructed to do so and were also a little baffled. A lot of work has gone into resident discussions and highways officers have generally listened and tried to get the best outcome.

“It is important when agreements and compromises have been made through constructive discussions that they should be adhered to.”

Max Woodvine, Conservative Saddleworth Parish Councillor for Dobcross and Diggle said: “Many residents have been asking why it is these ‘resurfacing and lining’ works are taking place only at this stage.

“Previous modifications to the road, which were implemented only a few months ago, have been ripped up in the process.

“There are certainly questions to be answered about the cost incurred by the taxpayer.

“Further to this, we know that many residents feel as though their original road safety concerns about the implementation of a mini roundabout were not accounted for.”

An Oldham Council spokesperson said: “During the latter stages of the works the pandemic had started to affect other countries and there was concern that if the UK went into lockdown, the works would stop.

“The lining was carried out to make the junction operational and safer earlier than the resurfacing. The resurfacing was always a part of the scheme.

“The mini roundabout at this location is intended to both moderate drivers’ approach speeds as they enter the built-up area and provide safer vehicle access from Sugar Lane onto the main road.

“It forms part of a speed and traffic management route strategy along the A640 between the Huddersfield Road Junction and Wool Road vehicle turnaround area.

“The whole scheme includes various improvements for pedestrians and cyclists along with an extension of the existing 30mph speed limit to include the approach to the Huddersfield Road junction further up the hill.

“The surface laid down is the correct surface for the classification of road.

We looked back over the past 10 years and there have been no incidents recorded at the junction in that timeframe.”

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