Swindon AdvertiserGet Thamesdown Drive traffic lights working, plead drivers (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Get Thamesdown Drive traffic lights working, plead drivers

Swindon Advertiser: Coun Vera Tomlinson at the junction where the traffic lights are not working Buy this photo Coun Vera Tomlinson at the junction where the traffic lights are not working

FAULTY traffic lights at a busy turnpike junction between the A419 and Thamesdown Drive are being blamed for a series of crashes and motorists are warning someone could be killed.

Motorists who raised the alarm with calls to Swindon Council and the Highways Agency yesterday said it was a miracle no one had died after five accidents in two days. The lights have been out of action for a week, despite functioning briefly on Tuesday.

On Saturday afternoon a woman had be cut out of an overturned car following a collision between two vehicles near the junction. Another motorist described the scene as “truly awful”. The woman, who had been inside a Ford KA, was taken to Great Western Hospital.

The road was blocked on Sunday evening after a second collision and another crash at the spot on Monday led to a driver being taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Confusion had clouded who was responsible for the lights, with reports of the Highways Agency referring callers trying to report the fault to the council and vice versa.

Cathy Pike, 55, a finance administrator from Haydon End, said: “The lights have been out of action for a week and it is ridiculous.

“I phoned the Highways Agency and they said there was a dispute over who was responsible for the lights. They then said it was the responsibility of the council and there was a serious technical fault. It’s fortunate that in the week they have been off no one has suffered a serious injury. It is actually safer in the mornings because there is more traffic and everyone has to slow down.”

Rachel Williams contacted the Adver via email. She said: “I travel that way every day and for the last week I’ve risked my life trying to get onto the northbound side of the A419 whilst the traffic lights have been off.

“Obviously there is some problem with them that can’t be fixed but surely with a three-way junction a temporary set should be put up? Does someone really need to die before this happens? Somebody really needs to take this further before having several deaths on their conscience.”

Coun Vera Tomlinson (Con, St Andrews) called a meeting between Keith Williams, cabinet member for leisure and strategic transport, Wiltshire Police and highways officers from Swindon Council, which led to a decision to install temporary traffic lights at 5pm yesterday.

Coun Tomlinson said: “There have been five traffic accidents reported to me over the past two days. In my view that’s five too many and the Highways Agency seemed not to be able to get to grips with the problem so we brought in Swindon Borough Council’s highways department to find a solution. We have decided to install a temporary traffic light system and lots of signs indicating that drivers should curb their speed and approach the junction with care and caution. The priority is to keep the A419 clear and running smoothly and to make sure no more accidents occur.”

The faulty lights at the major intersection have left drivers having to negotiate the junction with other motorists approaching from different directions.

The Highways Agency said there was a “significant and complex” problem with the signals.

The Swindon North Neighbourhood Policing team also urged drivers to exercise extreme caution at the spot. Motorists left dozens of messages complaining about the situation on the team’s Facebook page yesterday after it used the website to publicise the warning.

Melanie Holland Tucker wrote: “I went past the accident on Saturday. It looked so truly awful that it really is a miracle no-one was killed.

“Yes, perhaps some bad driving is playing a part here (perhaps, I don’t know) but to me it is complete negligence to leave these junctions as they are.”

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said the road was the responsibility of Swindon Council as it was only in charge of motorways and major A roads. A police spokesman said: “While work continues to try and rectify the fault we are urging drivers to slow down, be mindful of the other vehicles on and approaching the junction, and to avoid this route if at all possible.”

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “The lights are the responsibility of the Highways Agency and they are working hard to identify the cause of the fault.

“In the meantime, we are arranging for temporary traffic lights to be installed at the junction as soon as possible to provide traffic management until the problem has been resolved.”

Comments (13)

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9:28am Wed 21 Nov 12

notadolldosser says...

Why is it no once can make a desision at the council or highways agency
?
Its not until we all commented on Facebook about installing temporary lights that something was done!
Surely this is the first thing that should have been done on such a busy junction!
The council and the highways agency are a disgrace and who ever is in charge of this shambles needs a kick up the backside!
SHAME ON YOU ALL
Why is it no once can make a desision at the council or highways agency ? Its not until we all commented on Facebook about installing temporary lights that something was done! Surely this is the first thing that should have been done on such a busy junction! The council and the highways agency are a disgrace and who ever is in charge of this shambles needs a kick up the backside! SHAME ON YOU ALL notadolldosser
  • Score: 0

9:58am Wed 21 Nov 12

Robh says...

At least they could impose a temporary 20mph speed limit. We were nearly hit last Friday because a woman in a red BMW was driving at the speed limit and wasn't going to give way to anyone.
At least they could impose a temporary 20mph speed limit. We were nearly hit last Friday because a woman in a red BMW was driving at the speed limit and wasn't going to give way to anyone. Robh
  • Score: 0

10:01am Wed 21 Nov 12

Tonyblairisthedevil says...

Its because they are too busy working out how to fiddle expenses and get away with doing the least amount of work for the maximum amount of gain..

A trained chimp could have told them that temporary lights where necessary after the first day of being out..

As usual its the same old its there problem not ours scenario.
Its because they are too busy working out how to fiddle expenses and get away with doing the least amount of work for the maximum amount of gain.. A trained chimp could have told them that temporary lights where necessary after the first day of being out.. As usual its the same old its there problem not ours scenario. Tonyblairisthedevil
  • Score: 0

10:28am Wed 21 Nov 12

cherryblossom says...

I cant believe no one will take responsibility....th
at is pretty shocking!
I cant believe no one will take responsibility....th at is pretty shocking! cherryblossom
  • Score: 0

10:50am Wed 21 Nov 12

sharpie1982 says...

This is another blatant case of both parties involved putting cost before the safety of the public.
This is totally and completely unacceptable. Somebody is resonsible and should be held to account for all damage and injury caused at the site thus far!!!!
This is another blatant case of both parties involved putting cost before the safety of the public. This is totally and completely unacceptable. Somebody is resonsible and should be held to account for all damage and injury caused at the site thus far!!!! sharpie1982
  • Score: 0

10:56am Wed 21 Nov 12

PaulD says...

if there is ever a confusion over ownership then it should default to the Highways Agency who can then charge the cost back to the LA later if they are found to have been the owner
if there is ever a confusion over ownership then it should default to the Highways Agency who can then charge the cost back to the LA later if they are found to have been the owner PaulD
  • Score: 0

10:59am Wed 21 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

Kind of makes you wonder why we keep paying our Council Tax and Road Tax really...
Kind of makes you wonder why we keep paying our Council Tax and Road Tax really... I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

11:42am Wed 21 Nov 12

plron1 says...

Well done Coun Tomlinson for calling the meeting and getting some action. I went through the junction last night and again this morning and although there are queues at least its safe.

Shame on the roads & highways dept. of Swindon Council and the Highways Agency for putting the safety of road users last. As one of those callers to both organisations I found it ridiculous that each were blaming the other and just ignoring the problem.
Well done Coun Tomlinson for calling the meeting and getting some action. I went through the junction last night and again this morning and although there are queues at least its safe. Shame on the roads & highways dept. of Swindon Council and the Highways Agency for putting the safety of road users last. As one of those callers to both organisations I found it ridiculous that each were blaming the other and just ignoring the problem. plron1
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Wed 21 Nov 12

notadolldosser says...

Why couldnt someone just say " We will sort it" and then deal with the payments after, its a simple task and involves a simple invoice to the other parties concerned. Burocracy and red tap in this country is a joke!

If there was a fatality then there would be blood on someones hands. Thank god its not come to that!

Just hope these temporary lights dont fail now! :-)
Why couldnt someone just say " We will sort it" and then deal with the payments after, its a simple task and involves a simple invoice to the other parties concerned. Burocracy and red tap in this country is a joke! If there was a fatality then there would be blood on someones hands. Thank god its not come to that! Just hope these temporary lights dont fail now! :-) notadolldosser
  • Score: 0

1:20pm Wed 21 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

notadolldosser says...
Why couldnt someone just say " We will sort it" and then deal with the payments after, its a simple task and involves a simple invoice to the other parties concerned.

The irony being that it's probably cost more money to have two or three different call centers continually tell callers that it was, 'somebody's elses responsibility', for the last 10 days than it would have done to just send someone out there and sort the problem.
[quote][b]notadolldosser[/b] says... Why couldnt someone just say " We will sort it" and then deal with the payments after, its a simple task and involves a simple invoice to the other parties concerned. [/quote] The irony being that it's probably cost more money to have two or three different call centers continually tell callers that it was, 'somebody's elses responsibility', for the last 10 days than it would have done to just send someone out there and sort the problem. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Wed 21 Nov 12

MadMaximo1970 says...

Clearly it's now time that we all invoiced SBC and DVLA for the time these lights have been out. After all when you pay for a service and you don't receive it your entitled to a refund. I'm guessing that over the past few days the lights have been out of action it would add up to a fairly large bill for both of them.

Or on the other hand we can have an inquiry as to what went wrong and do nothing about the findings.
Clearly it's now time that we all invoiced SBC and DVLA for the time these lights have been out. After all when you pay for a service and you don't receive it your entitled to a refund. I'm guessing that over the past few days the lights have been out of action it would add up to a fairly large bill for both of them. Or on the other hand we can have an inquiry as to what went wrong and do nothing about the findings. MadMaximo1970
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Wed 21 Nov 12

sputnik says...

from day one, this junction was always going to be a problem.at rush hour there are always queues and still confusion for many drivers who make late lane changes due to this not being a conventional junction. I understand that cost came into play when designing this site but surely a plain flyover and roundabout would have worked better.
from day one, this junction was always going to be a problem.at rush hour there are always queues and still confusion for many drivers who make late lane changes due to this not being a conventional junction. I understand that cost came into play when designing this site but surely a plain flyover and roundabout would have worked better. sputnik
  • Score: 0

10:20pm Wed 21 Nov 12

choccie says...

sputnik wrote:
from day one, this junction was always going to be a problem.at rush hour there are always queues and still confusion for many drivers who make late lane changes due to this not being a conventional junction. I understand that cost came into play when designing this site but surely a plain flyover and roundabout would have worked better.
It certainly hasn't done me any favours. I normally join at Hyde Road by the Garden Centre. It is now a nightmare getting on there with the traffic going so fast. Previously the traffic was starting to slow down and there was rarely a problem, not even at busy times. Also when the lights did go out at Turnpipe it could be used as a normal roundabout. True improvements did need to be made to Blunsdon Hill, but I think it is a very poorly thought out junction at Turnpipe.
[quote][p][bold]sputnik[/bold] wrote: from day one, this junction was always going to be a problem.at rush hour there are always queues and still confusion for many drivers who make late lane changes due to this not being a conventional junction. I understand that cost came into play when designing this site but surely a plain flyover and roundabout would have worked better.[/p][/quote]It certainly hasn't done me any favours. I normally join at Hyde Road by the Garden Centre. It is now a nightmare getting on there with the traffic going so fast. Previously the traffic was starting to slow down and there was rarely a problem, not even at busy times. Also when the lights did go out at Turnpipe it could be used as a normal roundabout. True improvements did need to be made to Blunsdon Hill, but I think it is a very poorly thought out junction at Turnpipe. choccie
  • Score: 0

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