A concrete case against ‘invisible’ road hazard


A firefighter who warned the council to fix an unlit traffic island he accidentally crashed into was left stunned as he was part of a crew called out to assist two motorists who fell foul of the issue the very next day.

As part of works on Hockliffe Road two luminous traffic bollards were removed last week– exposing the raised islands they are placed on.

Bollards missing in Hockliffe Road

Bollards missing in Hockliffe Road

No cones, signs or lights were placed on the road to indicate the platforms, which were difficult to spot in the dark.

On Monday, August 18 retained Leighton firefighter Neil Eggleton, 43, fell foul of the hazards when driving home at around 9.30pm.

After moving out to navigate around a cyclist riding on his left, Mr Eggleton was unable to spot one of the islands and collided with it.

The impact smashed Mr Eggleton’s alloy wheels at a cost of more than £500– and the following day he reported the issue to Central Beds Council’s highways department.

Despite this the islands were left untouched and Mr Eggleton encounted the problem again, albeit as a first responder this time.

At around 9pm on Wednesday Sandhills resident Mark Field, 44, clipped one of the two reservations and was quickly forced to pull over 15-20 metres up the road to fix a flat tyre.

Just minutes later Chelsea Blackwell, 24, spotted Mr Field’s hi-vis jacket and car as she drove down the road after picking up a friend from Meadow Way.

She moved into the middle of the road to give wide berth and was similarly unable to spot the islands in the dark.

The front right wheel of Miss Blackwell’s Ford KA struck the first island violently– smashing the windscreen and setting off the airbag on impact.

The second island ripped through the vehicle’s petrol tank, dumping fuel across the road.

After witnessing the crash Mr Field helped Miss Blackwell and her passenger to the side of the road, before police, an ambulance and a fire crew were dispatched to the scene.

To his bemusement Neil Eggleton was back in the same spot he crashed two nights previously.

He told LBO: “For those islands to have been left without cones or any lighting is terrible.

“Having chatted to the residents in cottages by the side of the road they said they had heard loud noises from the islands at least three times a day.

“It would have been simple to place temporary lights or signs at no cost but now motorists have been stung for thousands.”

Shortly after emergency services were sent to the fuel spattered scene on Wednesday road workers arrived to place cones and a sign around each island.

Chelsea Blackwell said: “It is really annoying that the problem was reported and nothing was done about it.

“It was only when there was petrol in the road that action was taken,

“I’ve hurt my shoulder and both my friend and I have whiplash.

“It is frightening to think about it but there could have been a car on the other side of the road as we crashed.”

Having witnessed Miss Blackwell’s collision, Mark Field added his concern that the injuries sustained could have been far worse.

He said: “It was so dangerous with the fuel in the road, if either of the girls had been smoking or if there had been a spark they could have been set alight.

“It should have been clearly marked.”

A Central Beds Council spokesman said: “We have received two reports this week about bollards along Hockliffe Road. On Monday we received a report that bollards had been damaged in the vicinity of South Street and on Wednesday we received a separate report that bollards were missing near Appenine Way. None were removed as part of the resurfacing scheme.

“The bollard near South Street was replaced by the technician when they inspected the site. The reservation near Appenine Way was made safe on Wednesday and temporary keep left arrows were installed. New bollards will be installed early next week.”