Options on table to improve safety at Sidford’s ‘lethal’ junction

PUBLISHED: 10:34 19 December 2016

Sidford traffic lights. Ref shs 6384-18-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidford traffic lights. Ref shs 6384-18-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

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Campaigners welcome proposals and call for scheme to be implemented urgently

Possible options to improve safety at Sidford Cross have been revealed.

Devon’s highways boss has responded to growing concerns about the four-way intersection, which campaigners say poses an ‘unacceptable risk’ to pedestrians.

The two options being proposed would see either a new pedestrian crossing installed across the centre of the junction, between the public toilets and Rising Sun pub, or one stretching from the hairdressers across Church Street.

Both options would see the removal of the current puffin crossing further along Church Street, near the Spar shop, and include provision of an ‘all-red’ phase at the busy intersection - to give pedestrians safe passage in each direction.

The proposals are currently being discussed by East Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC) members,

County councillor and HATOC chairman Stuart Hughes said: “There can be no doubt in my mind that a pedestrian crossing phase is desperately needed at this very busy and unique staggered junction, which is the crossing point for two of the busiest A roads in East Devon. At present, pedestrians have to manage their crossing, taking care to look for vehicles approaching from all directions. A new system would introduce an all-red phasing on the junction’s traffic lights to allow people to move around in safety.”

The cost of replacing signals and introducing the pedestrian crossing phase is expected to be around £300,000.

Campaigner Peter Morling, of Sidford Cross, launched a petition in February calling on the highways authority to address the issue of safety at a junction he described as ‘a fatal accident waiting to happen’. He said this week: “I am pleased to see that this is now receiving consideration and hope that a scheme is urgently finalised and implemented.”

He said he would still rather see pedestrian crossing facilities installed to all four corners of the junction, to run concurrently while the lights are on red.

No decisions have been made yet and a safety audit would be needed to support any proposal. Officers will now begin design work to draw up the options.

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