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By IH Wednesday 06 February 2013 Updated: 11/02 15:58
TRAFFIC-CHOKED Birmingham Road moved closer to complete gridlock this week.
So said angry councillors after Warwickshire County Council gave the green-light to install an eighth set of lights within a mile stretch along the main route in and out of the town centre to the A46 by-pass.
The lights, along with a crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, will be placed at the Western Road junction as part of the redevelopment of the former Cattle Market site.
But councillors have slammed the move saying the busy road was already near gridlock.
Ward councillor and Stratford Mayor Keith Lloyd said: “County councillors not representing Stratford have once again gone against the resident wishes and bowed down to the business sector. What goes on behind the scenes at Shire Hall to make this decision begs belief.
"To waste so much money when a turn left only sign is, in my view, the simplest and logical way to avoid further congestion on this road and to have two sets of lights within yards of each other is unthinkable. Stratford will now be gridlocked for some 18 hours a day.”
And fellow ward councillor Clive Thomas was equally angry. He said: "Once again the county council has not listened to the public's representatives.
"All locals including councillors did not want traffic lights at the end of Western Road, especially so close to the Arden Street lights.
"All I can say to the county council is think again. The Birmingham road is now very close to complete gridlock."
Coun Peter Balaam, county council ward member and Chair of the Birmingham Road Traffic Management Study Steering Group, said he was disappointed there was not an alternative solution to traffic lights.
The Birmingham Road Traffic Management Study - an independent study commissioned by county highway chiefs -
considered a range of options for the Western Road junction including the current layout, a roundabout and a left-turn only arrangement.
Coun Peter Butlin, county highways spokesman, said: “The decision to approve the traffic signals has been a difficult one because we are aware that local residents and businesses are concerned that traffic congestion on Birmingham Road is getting worse.
“However, we also know that the additional traffic from the Cattle Market development and buses serving the new bus interchange will require safe access onto Birmingham Road.
"We need to make sure there is suitable access for HGVs serving Western Road and that safe crossing facilities are provided for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users.
“The independent study has confirmed traffic signals are necessary to strike a balance between the need to manage traffic effectively on Birmingham Road, while at the same time ensuring that the Western Road junction continues to operate safely for all road users.”
The proposed traffic signals at the Western Road junction will be paid for by the developer of the former Cattle Market site which is now under construction. The lights are set to be installed in the summer.
New traffic signals will also be provided on Alcester Road which will provide the other main access to the development.
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