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A traffic light too far

Your recent Moonakers junction vox pop (SA, February 28) started me thinking again about traffic intersections in Swindon.

The sensible conclusion of those quizzed was that, the Moonrakers junction needs minor improvement, but apart from peak periods, it works reasonably well.

The borough council solution is, of course, more traffic lights.

I’m old enough to remember when traffic lights controlled this junction, and were removed … to improve traffic flow!

When the northern expansion area was planned, a flyover was included and funded.

But this money was eventually frittered away on things like all-weather pitches at the Croft Sports Centre, before the remaining balance of £5.5 million was used at Bruce Street.

In 1972, Frank Blackmore with Ray Harper tarmacked over the huge grassed traffic island at Drove Road, and laid out a new idea with scrap tyres and our magnificent, marvellous, multi-ringed, magic, masterpiece was born!

What is it about our present day highway engineers?

Swindon is known for two things across the globe, fine steam locomotives and the magic roundabout.

Everyone on earth marvels at the utmost simplicity, yet mind boggling effectiveness, of our beloved icon, yet the highways team, seated just 1000 metres away (as the crow flies) are seemingly oblivious to its grandeur.

Is it that they are just too cheap, too quick and too easy to construct and incur no regular maintenance costs? Who can say?

OK, there is no space at the Moonrakers BUT there was plenty of room at Green Bridge, the same five junctions. Fancy LED lighting in no way compensates for THIS missed opportunity!

There was plenty of room at the Thamesdown Drive and Cricklade Road intersection, and whoever designed this, dedicated to encouraging high-speed intersection instead of slowing traffic, should be ashamed.

There is plenty of room at the White Hart and lord knows what plans there are for this, but with Eastern Villages and Shrivenham growing exponentially, I forecast traffic lights and trouble ahead.

It might be tight space-wise, but probably enough room at Mannington, instead more millions being spent on junction re-layout and yet more traffic lights.

Every time the phone rings at Poole, the Siemens guys must think it’s Christmas “Yes Mr Swindon Borough Council, HOW many traffic light sets!”

I saw three of their engineers at the new pedestrian crossing outside Moulden Hill this week, rubbing their hands, and it wasn’t from the cold! The maintenance alone must run into thousands of pounds.

I have this recurring nightmare, waking up covered in sweat, that some overzealous schoolboy highway planner, has persuaded Siemens to encircle and enfeeble our beloved magic roundabout with their flashing impediments.

I warn you now… this will indeed be a traffic light too far!

John Stooke, Haydon End, Swindon

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