Harpenden roadworks “endangered” schoolchildren

The roundabout of Piggotshill Lane, Wheathampstead Road and Azley Gardens. Picture: Google Maps

The roundabout of Piggotshill Lane, Wheathampstead Road and Azley Gardens. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A livid Harpenden mum has hit out at roadworks which forced children to cross a “dangerous” road at rush hour.

The mother, who would prefer to remain anonymous, was angry about Affinity Water roadworks which caused gridlock near Aldwickbury School in the town.

Four-way traffic lights, at the roundabout of Piggotshill Lane, Wheathampstead Road and Azley Gardens, reportedly took 10 minutes to change and caused jams that were hours long.

Normally, parents would drive into the school grounds to drop off their children. However, because of the standstill congestion, her children and their grandmother were forced to walk half a mile and cross through standstill traffic on the busy road to get to school.

She said that although teachers were doing their best guiding pupils across the road, the roadworks should not have been scheduled for term-time: “My children were put in danger today when they had to be taken to school on foot. My toddler especially had to walk across this main road, and for about half a mile to get her brothers to school in -6C this morning.

“To say I’m livid is an understatement.”

The chaos came during the recent Beast from the East cold snap, which was causing temperatures to feel a bitter -13C.

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Another mum-of-two from Harpenden, who was also trying to get her children to Aldwickbury School, said: “Staff are out in the street directing cars and getting kids into the school safely. 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].”

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

One motorist, who was on her way to work at 6.45am that morning through Southdown, said it was a nightmare.

On February 28, even the police were called.

A police spokesman said: “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.”

An Affinity Water spokesperson said: “We have been carrying out work to install a new hydrant and this work has now been completed.

“The traffic lights have now been turned off and the road has been re-opened.”