Investigation into ‘danger’ crossroads

The controversial crossroads of Billington Road, Theedway and Kestrel Way
The controversial crossroads of Billington Road, Theedway and Kestrel Way

A deluge of complaints slamming safety at a busy Leighton Buzzard crossroads has led Central Beds Council to investigate the alleged hazard.

The Southern Estates (Leighton Buzzard) Residents Group has seen heated social media discussions surrounding the Billington Road crossroads for Theedway and Kestrel Way, as drivers argue that there needs to be road markings to indicate how they should manoeuvre.

They insist the junction is dangerous as it stands and it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident.

Motorists claim that difficulties are caused when turning right because people do not know whether to use the ‘nearside to nearside’ or ‘offside to offside’ rule, arguing that this could potentially cause a serious accident.

The Highway Code does not state which method should be used, only advising that ‘offside to offside’ is safer.

Colin Johnson, neighbourhood chaplain at Hockliffe Street Baptist Church, said: “I was turning right out of Kestrel Way only a couple of weeks ago when the car opposite me hesitated and didn’t know whether to drive behind or in front of my car.

“There should be lines on the road which tell you how to pass. It’s not safe, because if you hesitate, you end up being caught out when the lights change.”

Upon hearing the complaints, Central Beds Council Traffic Management team has sought advice on amending the signal timings to allow for a longer inter-green period for right turners so there is no contact with other traffic.

They have also looked at design options for markings in the centre of the junction, claiming there are a couple of possible solutions, which will need to be formally designed and safety audited to ensure the council “do not create and introduce a problem that is not there currently”.

A Central Bedfordshire Council Traffic Management team spokesperson said: “The signal timings will take some time to model and assess to see if this option is viable with the current signal arrangement, or the need for a separate signal head.

“The modelling is being done as we speak to look at the signal timings and phases and capacity at the junction.

“No issues were raised at the Stage 3 Road Safety Audit. With no collisions and no recommendations at the audit, technically this does not support the comments on Facebook and motorists are managing to navigate the junction. We want to be careful not to introduce something that may make things worse than the general feeling now.

“We will visit the junction and observe the general operation. A simple lining solution to demark where motorists should sit and wait could be the best solution for this and that should be satisfactory in assisting the majority of motorists.

“If this is the case, this will be designed and then programmed by Ringway Jacobs and it may not be implemented until the New Year (February/March).

“We are also working with the developer to see if they can avoid using the junction with their grabber lorries, as there is no point installing markings whilst it is so dirty and constantly being used by construction traffic, because the markings will fade very quickly. We didn’t want to introduce a maintenance liability. The council are also trying to get the junction swept and cleaned to make it more visibility appropriate for motorists.”

Meanwhile, Leighton-Linslade town and Central Beds councillor for Plantation Ward, Ray Berry, said: “At the moment there is little point in putting surface markings down because they will disappear rapidly due to the type of vehicle service used by nearby buildings sites. For example, groundwork has been started on building Sainsbury’s, Theedway.

“I would also like to say that I wish people would contact councillors directly - that is what we are here for. We just don’t have time to scroll through numerous Facebook groups. If you need help, please get in touch via email or telephone.”

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