Support for traffic lights trial on ‘nightmare’ narrow bridge near Broadclyst

Congestion problems and safety concerns mean temporary traffic lights are set to be trialled on a narrow and ‘dangerous’ railway bridge in Broadclyst Station.

Members of the East Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee unanimously agreed to the measure in Station Road.

The bridge is on an almost 90-degree bend with no visibility or warning of on-coming traffic.

It is close to the Lodge Trading Estate, which is used by two major haulage companies and their HGVs, and the stretch is also on the main route to Clyst Vale Community College

Land south of the bridge is allocated for the future expansion of Cranbrook.

Councillor Ray Bloxham, who represents the Broadclyst ward, told the meeting there is ‘mounting concern’ from nearby residents as use of the road is increasing.

He added: “Current traffic flows including a high volume of HGVs and school transport have difficulty in negotiating the bridge and larger vehicles are unable to pass each other resulting in reversing operations on the approaches, both of which have steep gradients to the immediate side.

“The bridge is constructed with an almost 90-degree bend with no visibility or warning of on-coming traffic and there have been a number of collisions with existing barriers and recently a HGV left the road during a reversing manoeuvre.

“There is no safety for pedestrians across the length of the bridge and the carriageway on the southern side is immediately adjacent to and above a nursery with frequent movement of children and parents.

“There is mounting concern from local residents and road users and the western expansion of Cranbrook will add to the levels of vehicle movements.

“While it is accepted that it will take time to work up a scheme and secure funding, measures are required now and therefore the recommendation includes temporary traffic signals.

“The temporary provision to control the traffic, with alternate flows, will enable us to see how it works and if permanent provisions are needed.”

Cllr Bloxham added: “It would enable safer movement of parents and children around the nursery and cottages in Station Road as they would be able to make use of the traffic light phasing to negotiate across the road.”

Fellow ward member Cllr Sara Randall-Johnson added: “The bridge is ancient and doesn’t accommodate the type of traffic that is using the roads.

“This would enable traffic to flow freely on what is one of the few north/south roads available…and will resolve an unsatisfactory situation.”

Cllr Phil Twiss said the introduction of traffic lights at a similarly narrow bridge in Rosemount Lane, Honiton, had made a big difference.

He said of the Broadclyst Station proposal: “This road can be a nightmare at times and the situation will only get worse when the west end of the district is developed out and will be a more residential area, so this is a proactive solution and I would support a trial.”

However, concerns were raised by Devon County Council officers that the position of the signal heads for the traffic lights could impact on the residents of Station Road.

They said traffic queues could back up to outside their homes and restrict parking availability.

Cllr Bloxham said that he was happy for residents to be consulted before any trial proceeds.

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