No relief at Colney Heath blackspot for at least a year

Longabout A414, Colney Heath.

Longabout A414, Colney Heath. - Credit: Archant

A traffic blackspot in St Albans will remain just that for at least another year, after highway bosses decided to further delay improvements.

Despite the Colney Heath longabout on the A414 constantly being in the headlines following several fatalities and the hospitalisation of motorists after serious collisions, Herts county council has yet to introduce promised changes.

Colney Heath residents and local councillors have for years bern urging the council to make major improvements to the longabout.

They had been looking forward to a £60,000 safety project, with a trial expected to have begun before last winter.

But the county council shelved the scheme, and recently told Colney Heath parish council that the earliest a trial of temporary traffic signals could take place would be March 2015.

Parish councillors were told that even if the trial had gone ahead as planned in September last year, the construction of permanent traffic signals at the junction could not have started until 2015/16, subject to funding.

The county council said that as significant volumes of traffic pass through the junction during peak periods, the authority would need to ensure that introducing traffic lights would not have an adverse effect on another part of the longabout.

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Despite Herts Police maintaining they still have misgivings about the project, the council will press ahead with a trial, having signals operating for up to 14 hours a day for a maximum of five days.

St Albans district Councillor for Colney Heath Chris Brazier said that given residents’ difficulty in safely entering the longabout from the village, and constant traffic jams, “I’m greatly disappointed with this; the saga continues.”

Herts county Councillor for The Colneys Dreda Gordon said parish councillors were “angry and frustrated” with the constant delays, particularly when recent collisions had resulted in injuries, and caused traffic gridlock.

She urged the county council to “come up with a solution rather than put it on the backburner”.

Cllr Gordon added: “It is highly dangerous trying to come out of Colney Heath, and yet there has been no action from county for years.”