Harpenden pupils ‘at risk’ from diverted lorries

CONCERNS about the safety of children outside a school on a route being used by drivers to get around major roadworks heightened this week after it emerged that cars and lorries have been dangerously mounting kerbs.

As reported in last week’s Herts Advertiser, traffic including HGVs had been accidentally diverted around the Lower Luton Road roadworks in Batford via Pickford Hill, Milford Hill and Common Lane, Harpenden.

Although Herts Highways quickly realised its mistake and the correct diversion along A and B roads is now in place, a high volume of traffic is reportedly still using the route to avoid the roadworks, which were set to last around another three weeks but will now finish early.

And it has emerged this week that lorries as well as cars have been mounting the kerbs outside Sauncey Wood school in Pickford Road to get past each other as there is not enough room along the road due to parked vehicles.

Headteacher John Burt said: “Since the work started the volume of traffic has increased significantly, particularly at the beginning of the school day and at the end.

“A lot of people are having to mount the pavement to get past cars. There was an incident on Wednesday whereby two cars had all four wheels on the kerb driving past the school and people are getting very irate with each other. It’s not a good situation.

“It is not safe for children and that is my main concern. I’m having to go out myself at the beginning and the end of school.”

Most Read

A 24-year-old mother from Slip End, who has a five-year-old daughter at the school, contacted the Herts Advertiser to report a lorry mounting the pavement right behind her daughter.

She said: “This lorry was at loggerheads with a taxi so it mounted the kerb outside the school and followed my mother and daughter up the pavement. He put pressure on her to move out of the way but she carried on walking, although she obviously did feel quite upset about the situation. If my daughter had dropped something and the driver didn’t see her as he is in a lorry high up and she is only small, it could’ve been quite serious.

“It was extremely dangerous. It’s scary enough the thought that a big lorry has driven past the school in the first place as it’s such a quiet road, let alone mounting the kerb. And added to that they were effing and blinding at each other outside the primary school. Getting to the school is an absolute nightmare too, it is taking me 10 minutes just to get up or down the hill in the morning.”

The mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said she thought drivers were still using the route as the correctly placed diversion signs were beyond the entrance to Pickford Hill and an access-only sign was obscured.

But even when the roadworks have ended, she is concerned that the route has been flagged up to drivers who will continue to use it to avoid everyday traffic and she thinks the only solution will be to implement traffic calming measures.

Herts Highways has stepped up the number of workers and hours spent on the project in light of the problems, which has meant the Lower Luton Road is likely to reopen at the end of this week, two weeks early.

After that time the remainder of the work will be undertaken under temporary two-way traffic light signals and in the meantime a spokesperson said the ‘access only’ sign was now visible to motorists.