FOLLOWING a number of accidents and near misses, a highways scheme to improve road safety at the infamous Freehay crossroads junction is finally being put into place.
(Photo credit: Emma Leese)
The scheme is being planned for this financial year and officials at Staffordshire County Council say that work should start by mid-July.
The initial phase of the scheme at Freehay crossroads near Cheadle will include the installation of temporary traffic lights on all four approaches to the junction.
News of the scheme comes just one week since the most recent road traffic collision to take place at the junction near The Queens at Freehay.
The latest incident (Wednesday, June 27) involved a black Audi and green Suzuki – which landed on it’s side – fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported.
Following consultation with the local community, further work planned for later in the year will see a change to the traffic priority at the crossroads and the temporary traffic lights removed.
The new proposal would mean that traffic travelling on School Lane and Counslow Road would have priority and traffic on Hollington Road and Rakeway Road would have to give way.
This would also be supported by a speed limit reduction from 60mph to 30mph on all four approaches.
Richard Alcock is a member of both Cheadle Town Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and has long campaigned for improvements at Freehay crossroads.
He said: “There has recently been two crashes there in less than a week and around 30 there in total.
“I don’t know what the answer is, but they need to do something and do it quick before somebody gets killed. It’s terrible.
“Temporary traffic lights will be in place while the council conducts a traffic survey.
“But if they do end up changing the priority of traffic that will just confuse residents and drivers in the area who already know the road and use it correctly.”
The scheme would also include resurfacing, kerb re-alignment and new signs including the relocation of the current flashing Vehicle Activated Signs.
Staffordshire County Councillor, Mark Deaville (pictured) said: “Improving road safety at this junction has been one of my top priorities for a number of years now and I’m pleased with the proposed improvements.
“I do understand the concerns that local people have with regard to the recent spate of incidents here and would like to reassure them that priority has been placed on these works.
“We have to take action on these vehicles just not stopping at the STOP signs.
“Our Highways teams have already carried out a number of improvements at Freehay and this latest scheme will help to improve safety even further.”
Work to cut back hedges on the approaches to the junction, to help improve visibility for drivers, is also being planned.
Public consultation on the speed limit reductions and changes of priority to drivers is expected to start soon.
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