Lib Dem County Councillors David Kendall and Barry Aspinell met with the Cabinet member for Highways Cllr Tracey Chapman and officers on Wednesday (9/11/11) at County Hall to discuss the two most dangerous junctions in Brentwood: Devil's Head crossroads in Warley and the Sandpit Lane/Ongar Road junction in Pilgrims Hatch.
The councillors called once again for major safety improvements to be made to both junctions and the installation of mini roundabouts to help with traffic flows. However their calls were rejected on the grounds of road safety issues, cost and the low numbers of reported accidents. They were told that the only safe solution for both junctions would be the installation of solid island roundabouts which would cost anything between £500k and £1 million each because of the re-routing of wiring and cabling under the road and the need to purchase land. At present there wasn't that level of funding available and even if there was there were not sufficient numbers of reported accidents by the police to justify the investment. Consequently both schemes were well down the list for any action being taken.
The police said there had been four accidents at the Sandpit Lane/Ongar Road junction over the last three years and eight accidents at the Devils Head crossroads over the last three years.
However they did get agreement from the Cabinet member to try and get the VAS signs at the Devil's Head crossroads working as soon as possible and for some road linings to be repainted and road signs to be replaced. They also got commitment for a report to be provided by officers on why a mini roundabout was a viable road safety option up in Ongar but not at these two dangerous junctions.
Cllr David Kendall said:
"I had hoped we would make some progress on getting some major road safety measures at these dangerous junctions but sadly it wasn't to be. Councillors and residents believe that the installation of mini roundabouts would make a major difference but officers refuse to sanction their use on the grounds of road safety. We were also staggered at the reported accident figures by the police and are now questioning their criteria for what constitutes an accident as we are aware of many many more. We will continue to keep on fighting for the changes that are needed but the clear message from the County Council is that there will be no major improvements at these dangerous junctions for many years to come".