Residents fear someone will be killed on St Albans road

DANGERS facing a road which is used by drivers to avoid traffic at a busy junction were brought to light this week.

A car flipped onto its roof in Old Harpenden Road at around 8.30am on Monday morning sending debris flying across the road – avoiding children making their way to school by a matter of seconds. The young driver and his passenger escaped the wreckage with minor injuries.

Kuldip Chohan, neighbourhood watch coordinator for Ellis Fields, was approaching the road with his six-year-old son when he heard the crash: “If it had happened 30 seconds earlier there would have been four to five children crossing the road at that point. Instead, they heard the commotion behind them.”

Mr Chohan, who owns Gallery Rouge in St Albans, said residents have been complaining for a number of years that drivers use the road as a rat run to cut out the traffic at the Ancient Briton junction.

While Herts County Council did install signage with restrictions on using the road at peak times in the morning and afternoon, Mr Chohan said it has proved futile and he called for speed humps, gating the road or blocking off one end: “Someone is going to be killed unless they do something.”

Tim Griffiths, who also lives in Ellis Fields, was walking his seven-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter to school when the accident happened.

He said: “We were about 80 yards back along Ellis Fields when I heard the crash and saw all the debris fly across the road and the lampost keel over in the road in front of us.”

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He continued: “It’s a massive concern. It’s been a problem for a number of years and although the council put up signage it has made little or no difference and it’s still being used as a thoroughfare. It’s like a go-cart alley.”

“In a way we are glad that an accident has happened and nobody has got hurt as it has highlighted how bad the road actually is. It’s the first time I think there has been a major accident but I’ve lived here for the last seven years and it’s amazing it has taken this long.”

A spokesperson for Herts Highways said they had painted double yellow lines and improved the pavement at the southern end of the road, as well as putting into place the closure between 8am and 9am, and 2.30pm and 4pm.

She continued: “We have previously received reports that drivers are using the road when they shouldn’t and appreciate residents’ concerns. We already had plans in motion before this incident to set up a meeting with residents and will also continue to raise their concerns with the police, who are responsible for enforcing the closure.

“We also ask any drivers who are tempted to use the Old Harpenden Road as a short cut to observe the temporary closure of the road – it’s there for a reason.”