A FORMER Council road safety officer has questioned the need for traffic signals at The Royal George crossroads in Greenfield.
Peter Widdall, who worked for Oldham and Manchester City Councils prior to retirement, believes the junction doesn’t generate enough accidents to warrant installation of traffic lights.
However, the Independent’s story (‘Lighting up time? on page five of our April edition) provoked a huge response from readers both for and against the idea first, which was raised at the March meeting of Saddleworth Parish Council’s Roads and Transport Committee.
The Royal George pub has even taken to posting a ‘crash of the month’ feature on its Facebook page to highlight the issues at the busy junction.
Peter, from Greenfield and formerly Group Leader, Road Safety and Development Control for MCC was among the many who got in touch.
He said: “Being familiar with this junction and having some experience of traffic signals and junction design, I was interested to learn more of the junction’s safety record.
“I find that the accidents are disparate and relatively few, and at an estimated cost of £250,000 I fail to see how such a scheme could be justified.
“Moreover, as well as having higher maintenance costs, a traffic signalled junction can attract its own types of accidents.
“Having visited the site recently, what I think should be considered is some carriageway resurfacing (at least to get rid of the pot-holes), relaying all the road markings and renewing signs.
“But traffic signals are the wrong option at this site at this time, and rather than spend £250,000 here (and mostly wasted in my opinion), I would much rather see £50,000 spent at this junction and at four other deserving sites.
“I would certainly go along with reducing the 40mph speed limit stretch of Manchester Road down to 30mph.
“This would help at the junction and remove the need for maintenance of the speed signs.”
Here are some of the other comments received by the Independent and there are many more on our Facebook page.
Major Robin Tarr from Grasscroft wrote: “This has been an ongoing problem for at least 40 years.
“Accidents are caused by drivers exiting Huddersfield Road who do not realise that Manchester Road is in front of them and drive straight across without stopping. The same happens in the opposite direction.
“At that time, Mr Benny Morton – a well-known local engineer – wrote to the authorities suggesting that if the junction of Well-i-Hole and Manchester Road was moved so as to enter Manchester Road 20 yards to the left i.e. nearer Greenfield, the junction would then be offset.
“There would be no straight ahead from either Huddersfield Road or Well-i-Hole and drivers would have to stop.
“This seemed to me then, and does now, a cheap and totally effective way of removing the danger – a lot less than £250,000 (Where do they get these figures?).”
Phil Tunnicliffe said: “I think it’s a good idea to put lights there and it should have been done years ago.
“I go through there every day to work on a motorcycle and it’s frightening have been knocked off twice with cars pulling out then blaming me.”
Julie Swindells said: “While I admit the junction is busy I find the hump-backed bridge on Well-i-Hole Road far more dangerous than the actual junction.
“Every single day, no matter what time of the day, when I am down sorting out my animals I hear at least one collision on the bridge with car wing-mirrors going flying, or their tyres squealing down the curbing.
“The road narrows substantially over the bridge and can just about fit two smallish cars at the same time.
“It is not actually signposted anywhere and every day impatient people, who think they have the right of way, push through and cause damage to other road users.
“You only have to walk down the road and look at the graveyard of wing-mirror debris to work out what is happening.
“I have taken to walking my horses up Well-i-Hole as I feel it is far too dangerous to even contemplate riding up as the 40mph speed limit makes people less courteous and far more ignorant for the safety of horse and rider.
“People often ignore my hand signals politely asking them to slow down while passing, most of the time at speed with only inches to spare between their cars and my horses.”
Ken Smith emailed: “I reckon they (traffic lights) will be a hindrance.”
Vivien McDougall added: “If traffic were slowed down with the use of speed bumps etc lights could possibly be avoided. In particular, Well-i-Hole should be reduced to 30mph.
“The pavement is very narrow and to walk a child to school becomes difficult as there is not enough room to hold a hand, especially while pushing a buggy.”
Paul Smith wrote: “My wife and I use this road daily and I have had an accident here.
“Should the proposal go ahead can I suggest Oldham Council take a look at Newmarket Road/Oldham Road crossroads in Ashton. The same problems of the crossroads existed there some time ago.
“Tameside Council installed lights that work at three different intervals.
“Traffic from Well-i-Hole would be free to turn left or right or up Huddersfield Road. Traffic from Huddersfield Road would be able to turn left or right without interference.
“Another alternative would be to have them timed at specific times of the day as follows: in the morning 7-10am and afternoon 4-7pm.
“I also have to say that living in the area for nine years and using this junction daily I have never had a problem accessing either Well-i-Hole or Manchester Road.”