Leighton is set to face more than six months of gridlock when workmen move into the town centre next week to dig up roads and pavements in the run up to Christmas.
The end result is expected to be a free-flowing and safer town but Central Beds Council has put up notices warning drivers to expect 28 weeks of mayhem. Roundabouts are going in, traffic lights are coming out, speed limits are being reduced and landscaping is to be constructed.
Councillor Budge Wells, spokesman for the authority’s sustainable communities services, said: “Earlier in the year around 150 residents came along to an exhibition on these plans which will hopefully make a massive improvement to Lake Street, Billington Road and the surrounding area.
“The first phases of this scheme are set to begin shortly with construction scheduled to continue for approximately six months. This is because there are substantial improvements to be made, which have to be implemented in stages and with the minimum disruption to road users, residents and businesses.
“We have, of course, planned the works with our contractor to minimise the inconvenience to the public and will use both diversions and traffic signals at different stages when appropriate.”
The scheme is designed to reduce traffic using Billington Road and improve the route for pedestrians, cyclists and residents from Sandhills. The works will use similar ideas to those used on Leighton Road, Linslade, and West Street, Leighton, and will include some traffic calming, traffic signal removal, carriageway narrowing and protected parking.
The LBO’s Facebook users backed calls for action over gridlock. This week Marian Woollard said: “Lake Street has had a number of problems at the junction by the library” while Philip Bradding hit the nail on the head with: “Let’s face it, the whole of Leighton-Linslade is a nightmare.”
Robert Holgan added: “It’s very bad at the roundabout outside The Falcon. It’s a nightmare to cross. Should put up some kind of crossing there.”
But some user felt that traffic calming and improved road safety were ineffective. Claire Carpenter says: “Why the heck have they stuck roundabouts on Clarence Rd !!!!”
Jonathan Kitcher: “I agree with many of the comments here. The numerous sleeping policemen and crossings in Linslade make it very tricky to watch all the possible hazards. The roundabout at the end of Bunkers Lane seems to be ignored by many drivers heading toward Wing to the point that you must check in both directions when exiting Bunkers Lane. It’s all in all not very impressive.”
The works include:
Footway surfacing to create a shared use path on the western side from its junction with Lake Street to its junction with Hockliffe Street; Street lighting upgrade on Leston Road and Hockliffe Street roundabout; Amendments to signing on Leston Road and Hockliffe Street; Construction of a central island.
Other work: Provision of a 20mph speed limit zone along Leston Road, Lake Street, Lindler Court, Grove Road and Old Chapel Mews and for a short section into Grovebury Road, Stanbridge Road and Hockliffe Street.
Street lighting upgrade throughout the scheme - Leston Road / Lake Street junction: Conversion of the existing T-junction to a mini-roundabout.
Lake Street - Duncombe Drive to Old Chapel Mews: Footway surfacing to create a shared use path on the western side of Lake Street (including drainage works) with block paved edge detail and some landscaping works.
Lake Street – Old Chapel Mews to Grove Road: Conversion of existing signal controlled crossing to a zebra crossing on a raised table and associated footway resurfacing / kerb line amendments and drainage works.
Lake Street – Grove Road to Lindler Court: footway widening (into the carriageway) and surfacing to create a shared use path on the western side Lake Street – outside Magnon Court: Conversion of the existing signal controlled crossing to a zebra crossing Lake Street – Junction with Morrisons / Lindler Court: Conversion of existing signalised junction to a mini-roundabout Lindler Court / Lake Street junction: raised courtesy crossing Morrisons access: Conversion of existing signal controlled crossings to zebra crossings Lake Street – outside Morrisons petrol station: New zebra crossing on a raised table, including drainage works Lake Steet – Lindler Court to Grovebury Road: footway widening (into the carriageway) and surfacing to create a shared use path on the western side, associated drainage works and some landscaping works Grovebury Road: relocation of the existing zebra crossing and footway resurfacing Stanbridge Road – Lake Street to Linwood Grove: Installation of a pedestrian refuge island and block paved central reservation / pedestrian refuge island, footway resurfacing, associated drainage and landscaping works.
Amendments to some of the direction signs on Lake Street, Stanbridge Road and Grovebury Road.