Decision for danger junction

Joseph Bulmer

Traffic light plan gets the green light

A ROAD safety scheme for the notorious Westleigh Junction is scheduled to start later this year.

Devon County Council has approved a �630,000 traffic signal scheme and improved road layout at the site, which has been the scene of a number accidents.

Original proposals for a traffic lights scheme caused controversy and calls for a rethink.

Objections were raised over potential congestion and Northam and Bideford Town Councils expressed a preference for a roundabout. This more expensive �2.4 million plan was one of a number of options which had been considered and assessed for improvements to safety and ability to cope with future demand.

But following public consultation, a number of minor amendments have been made to the traffic lights plans and they have now been agreed by county councillors.

The report before county councillors concluded that a roundabout offered relatively poor value for money and its expansion to deal with forecasted traffic growth over the next 15 years would also be costly. Traffic lights were seen as the most cost effective solution and one which could be upgraded more easily in future.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “I met with Bideford and Northam Town councils earlier this year to discuss their preference for a roundabout and their concerns about queuing at traffic signals.

“Because of those concerns, officers took another look at the various schemes and, in particular, examined how much congestion there might be.

“I’m very pleased the report confirms that these state-of-the-art traffic signals should work effectively, without undue congestion. It also explains that a traffic signal layout would be more flexible for upgrading as traffic flows increase.

“And, of course, the traffic signal scheme is affordable, whereas the roundabout is not. I am very keen that we now get on and finish the job.”

Local councillor Rodney Cann, who has campaigned for improvements at the junction, welcomed the scheme.

He said: “It’s regrettable that there have been delays up until now, but I’d request that the council now presses on with this scheme as quickly as possible.”