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'DANGER' JUNCTION: Calls for rethink at complex crossroads
PRESSURE is mounting on council chiefs to act over a ‘danger’ junction in Weymouth.
The Echo has been inundated with complaints about the complex harbour crossroads near Asda following our story on calls for changes on June 19.
Many are backing calls for an independent review of the site, nicknamed ‘kamikaze junction’ by locals.
Some believe a roundabout in the middle of the junction would aid traffic flows while others say traffic lights should be scrapped.
Weymouth and Portland councillor Mike Byatt is supporting concerns raised by the Weymouth and Portland Hackney Carriage Association and says people need ‘reassurance’ the junction is safe with an independent review.
With the Olympics fast approaching and the town ready for an influx of extra visitors, Coun Byatt said today it was more important than ever to get something done.
He said the county council may be preoccupied with the Olympics – but says a warning sign could be put up on the approach to the junction now and other issues investigated after the Games.
Taxi driver Eddie Hawkins said the ‘flaw’ was that the pedestrian crossings are too close to the junction and were positioned on blind corners and on hills where visibility is restricted.
Head of highways at Dorset County Council Mike Winter said: “We appreciate that some highway users are finding the harbour junction more difficult to negotiate than other junctions in the town.
“When a junction is first opened or amended, we use advisory signs to inform road users of the change. These signs include messages such as ‘New Road Layout’, ‘New Traffic Signals’ and ‘Signal Priorities Changed’. Regulations say these must be removed within three months of completion of the works, which has been the case here.
“The sign regulations do not include a ‘Complex Junction’ sign, or anything similar.
“Local motorists will by now be aware of the junction layout and new drivers to the area are able to use the information already provided, such as advanced direction signing, signals, lane markings and markings in the junction centre, to help them find their way.
“We consider these measures to be sufficient for drivers to proceed through the junction safely.”
Mr Winter said safety audits were carried out at the junction once it had been built and safety concerns resolved.
He said the council had responded directly to concerns raised by members of the public and made amendments where necessary.
Mr Winter added that the council was looking into comments from the Taxi Drivers’ Association.
Drivers take life into their hands
HOLIDAYMAKER David Barnby says drivers ‘take their life in their hands’ when using the junction – and he wonders what impression it gives to visitors.
He and his wife Francine have been visiting Weymouth for years and say they are not put off by the new traffic system, but other holidaymakers might be.
Retired telecoms engineer Mr Barnby, 74, from Oxfordshire, said: “If you didn’t know the area the junction would take you by surprise.
“You really have to take a deep breath before using it and swivel your head in all directions.
“You assume that the junction works in the normal way and you’re not on your guard.
“Visitors who have bad experiences with Weymouth’s traffic system may think twice about coming back.
“My wife Francine and I love it here and it wouldn’t put us off but we’re on our guard when we use the junction.”
Mr Barnby said he wouldn’t be surprised if visitors talked of their bad experiences in traffic when they went back home.