Danger junction in line for major review

Highways bosses are considering revamping a borough junction after a series of crashes which disgruntled motorists blame on its controversial redesign.

Thursday, 24th November 2016, 10:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 10:30 am
The junction on Warrington Road, Marus Bridge

Concerns have been raised about the traffic light sequence at the crossroads between Warrington Road, Highfield Grange Avenue and Poolstock Lane.

Now transport chiefs say they are “considering a number of options” to improve safety at the junction, which is increasingly seen by residents as an accident blackspot.

Earlier this year, the junction was converted from a roundabout to crossroads in the hope it would alleviate congestion.

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However, the hoped-for improvements in traffic flow have failed to materialise and there have been a number of smashes on the junction as motorists struggle to understand a baffling new filter system.

Resident Paul Shuttleworth met with representatives from Wigan Council and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to discuss his concerns after noticing the problem could be being caused by the filter system for people turning right onto Highfield Grange.

He said: “The main cause of accidents is because the person turning right gets a green light and they think they are clear to proceed without having to give way.

“They are lulled into this false belief because they have witnessed traffic on the left stopping (Poolstock), traffic on the right stopping (Highfield Grange) and traffic directly opposite and slightly to the right, one of the three A49 lanes, also coming to stop as they have received red lights.

“They are wrongly assuming that the other lanes of the A49, where the traffic is now very sporadic due to Sainsbury’s lights are also going to come to a stop.

“The person turning right can see that the light facing the A49 traffic coming down from the motorway must be on red because the traffic in one of the lanes has come to a stop.

“In my opinion the only way to prevent accidents is to make the right turn a permanent filter operation to stop the oncoming traffic for a short period, this should have minimal impact on traffic throughput as the only other traffic permitted is from down the A49 from the motorway which is very light at that particular point in the overall sequence.”

When asked by the Observer, Wigan Council and Transport for Greater Manchester declined to reveal the option being considered but they are believed to include removing the filter sign, which is currently hardly triggered, and painting lines to clarify where cars turning right should wait are also being considered.

He also raised concerns with the representatives about pedestrians getting stranded halfway across the junction, especially as in one place there is no button because it was knocked over in an accident and about the speed at which drivers were coming through the junction from the M6.

Paul also asked whether u-turns were allowed or not and is waiting for TfGM and the council to get back to him to clarify the issue.

Paul, who lives in Winstanley, criticised the council for what he said appeared to be a lack of communication between them, the police and TfGM which meant issues weren’t being passed along to the body that could solve them.

Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure at Wigan Council, said: “The meeting was a productive one. We are now working with TfGM on considering a number of options which were raised at the meeting. We will update Mr Shuttleworth and members of the public once we have an agreed way forward.”