Crossroads safety scheme rejected

Highways chiefs rule out a roundabout or traffic lights at notorious Hunters Lodge junction

HIGHWAYS chiefs have ruled out any major road safety improvements to the notorious Hunters Lodge crossroads near Axminster.

They say there is no proven need for the long called for roundabout or traffic lights, branding them unnecessary and too expensive.

Instead they have agreed to some new road markings and a flashing warning sign - provided local councils stump up the �27,000 cost.

The decision comes after highways experts carried out a survey at the junction following renewed calls for safety improvements.

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Traffic lights or a roundabout were amongst the options residents in Axminster and Uplyme wanted considered to help reduce accidents and delays there.

But councillors have been told there is no chance they will get either.

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Axminster Town Clerk Hilary Kirkcaldie said the low level of reported accidents at the site was reflected in the low priority given to providing any funding for improvements.

She said a roundabout was ruled out because the volume of traffic on each road was not equal. It would also lead to longer delays than the existing set up.

Traffic lights were not favoured because they would cause even longer hold-ups.

As a result, the suggestion now was for a vehicle-activated sign on the eastbound approach to the junction, on the A35. This would flag up a sign showing that there was a staggered crossroads ahead.

Miss Kirkcaldie said highways chiefs stressed that the latest research suggested this was more effective than a flashing speed limit reminder.

She said the cost of the sign would be around �3,000 with a further �7,000 in legal fees.

If the scheme was supplemented by extended “red markings” on the road, the total cost would be �27,000.

It was suggested that the quickest way to achieve even the most basic measures would be if the parishes were to provide the funding.

Mayor Andrew Moulding said the scheme was the best they could hope for and the council should support it. But unless the highways agency came up with the cash he doubted it would go ahead.

“Axminster will not be able to contribute towards the cost,” he said.

* In the meantime the council is calling for urgent action to resite the bus stop next to the Hunters Lodge pub.

Deputy mayor Jeremy Walden said east bound traffic, queuing to turn right off the A35, often found themselves with a bus in front and nowhere to go.

School children crossed the road there and were waiting to get on the bus.

The fact there had been no accidents was “more by luck than judgement”. It would be better to site the bus stop opposite the westbound one on the main road, he suggested.

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