Southdown traffic lights ‘utter nightmare’

Southdown has severe traffic delays.

Southdown has severe traffic delays. - Credit: Archant

Frustrated motorists were left waiting for more than 10 minutes for temporary traffic lights to change this morning in Southdown, Harpenden, leading to total gridlock and vehicles being abandoned.

The four-way traffic lights are at the roundabout where Piggotshill Lane, Wheathampstead Road and Azley Gardens all join.

It is the second day that commuters and parents on the school run have faced gridlock in the area.

Affinity Water is carrying out work in a few spots and has four sets of temporary lights in place.

According to Herts County Council’s website, work is due to finish today.

A mum-of-two from Harpenden was trying to get her children to Aldwickbury School this morning.

She told the Herts Ad: “Staff are out in the street directing cars and getting kids into the school safely.

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“People have been abandoning their cars.

“There is all this traffic on the road and there don’t seem to be any staff around [for the road works].

“I’m not a busy body but I called the council and the police.

“The school have also called the police.

“It’s not just the inconvenience, it’s so dangerous for the kids crossing the road.”

A police spokesman said: “Police were called at 7.14am today regarding issues with temporary traffic lights in Piggottshill Lane at the junction with Wheathampstead Road.

“The first caller said the lights were only letting two cars through at a time but subsequent callers said the lights were stuck on red.

“There have been four calls in total to police.

“We have made Highways aware.”

One motorist, who was on her way to work at 6.45am this morning through Southdown, said: “It was an utter nightmare.

“I was waiting for about five minutes when the lights changed.

“Everyone in front of me got through.

“I was then at the front of the queue as the lights had gone back to red.

“It was 6.58am when I got to the front of the queue and the lights had not changed by 7.10am.

“At that point a woman got out of her car and started telling everyone she was just going to go through the red light.

“We all figured the lights were faulty or programmed with ridiculous timings so everyone went through the red light.

“Thankfully there were no accidents.

“People at the Alzley Gardens lights had already been driving through the red light as well.

“Yesterday I was waiting in a queue for more than 20 minutes.

“I didn’t know about the road works and thought there had been some kind of terrible accident!”

Affinity Water has been invited to comment.