AFTER Thurston Clough Road at Highmoor was taken off the gritting route this winter due to closure for essential bridge repairs, residents there are being subjected to yet another inconvenience, writes John Kirkbride.
Within the 500 yards between the top of Doctor Lane and the point where the road begins to drop down towards the affected bridge, there are no less than three red and white warning signs advising drivers the road is closed except for access.
On a daily basis, however, drivers of cars, vans and lorries appear to be ignoring the signs and continuing down the road until they find themselves in the steep, narrow approach to the closed bridge.
At this point they are forced to either find somewhere to turn around or alternatively reverse back up the narrow, winding lane.
Residents at Thurston Clough have reported damage to both property and vehicles as a result of these manoeuvres.
There is no footpath and only a narrow bank of grass at either side in many places, and with vans and delivery lorries attempting to reverse there are concerns for the safety of the many hikers, dog walkers and families with children who use it on a regular basis.
Local people are understandably frustrated by the behaviour of those drivers who choose to ignore the notices.
But with advance warning signs also in place on the main A62 Huddersfield Road, most residents appreciate the local authority has done all it reasonably can to warn motorists the route is closed.
An Oldham Council spokesperson told Saddleworth Independent: “The road closure is clearly signposted in accordance with current regulations and it’s there for a reason – to keep the road closed to through traffic while important construction work is carried out.
“We cannot control the actions of a minority of irresponsible drivers. Motorists who travel along Oldham’s roads should drive safely by observing and adhering to road signage at all times.”
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police added: “Road closures of this nature are a matter for the council yet all road users should abide by temporary road signage.
“Failure to do so could result in a fine or penalty points, particularly if a collision is caused through reckless driving.
“Any such damage should be reported to the police via 101 or online at our website.”
The repair site on Thurston Clough road has this month been closed to pedestrians as well, but just before the affected bridge a public footpath provides access to the A62 Huddersfield Road.