I HAVE written previously about the junction of Manchester Road (A635)/Well-I-Hole Road and the current scheme to install traffic signals and linked pedestrian, cycle and horse crossings.
I say “current” scheme since the work, initially programmed to take 17 weeks is now in the 26th week – and counting!
Goodness knows what the final cost will be.
The scheme was drawn up as part of the Bee Networks Crossings initiative, but whatever the source of funding, in my view, the cost/benefit will never support signalling this junction and I have been critical of this scheme from the outset.
The new pedestrian/cycle and horse crossings could of course be installed quite separately from the junction signals.
Normally, traffic signals, unless they feature to aid emergency services, as part of a tidal flow or other wider traffic management scheme, are installed to address a safety problem and, in doing this, show a realistic cost/benefit in terms of accident and casualty reduction.
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.
Using the Greater Manchester database, I discovered there had been only ONE slight injury accident over a three-year period.
So why this junction, when there is simply no real scope for improved safety, and when it is estimated that there are more than a dozen sites in Oldham with a worse accident record?
As well as having higher maintenance costs, a traffic signalled junction can attract its own types of accidents.
What will the council do, when, having monitored the accidents they find that collisions and injuries have increased, which is quite likely? Will it take the signals out? I doubt it.
When this scheme was first being considered, it was reported that, as part of the scheme, the short lengths of 40mph on the approach roads should be reduced to 30mph.
This was an obvious thing to do, and as well as taking away the need for lighting and maintenance of the speed limit signs, could have a greater safety impact than signalling the junction.
But, although this should have happened years ago, when I visited the site last weekend, it still hasn’t been done.
I couldn’t help noticing, however, how efficiently the junction was working – without signals!
(Formerly Group Leader, Road Safety and Development Control, Manchester City Council)
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