A414 longabout safety improvements open at last

Cllr Chris Brazier at the longabout, Colney Heath.

Cllr Chris Brazier at the longabout in Colney Heath. - Credit: Archant

After nearly 20 years of trying to convince local authorities of the need for safety improvements, the Colney Heath longabout has reopened following weeks of work.

It is hoped that the measures will make exiting and entering Colney Heath, Colney Heath Lane and Station Road safer for everybody. 

In 2014 the longabout was classified as a hazardous site after there were 20 accidents between 2011 to 2013 which was more than three times the qualifying threshold of six.

Motorcyclist Neal Christian was killed on the road in March 2011 after his bike was struck by a Ford Fiesta pulling out of the junction. 

Temporary lights were trialled in March 2015 and found to be a viable solution but in March 2017 residents were told Herts County Council did not have the money for safety improvements nut would prioritise them for 2019-2020.

The works involved installing new traffic lights on the A414 in both directions and on Colney Heath High Street. This has included constructing a new section of road across the central reservation allowing vehicles to cross on to the eastbound A414, installing crossing points for pedestrians, cyclists and horses, resurfacing the longabout and its eastbound approach, changes to the kerb alignment and traffic islands, and improvements to street lighting, road signs and road markings.

Cllr Chris Brazier, who has led the fight for safety improvements for 20 years, said: "Local residents have helped by signing petitions, the parish council and our county councillor also put pressure on Herts County Council.

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"But what finally won the case for lights was the number of accidents - some resulting in fatalities -  that involved cars trying to exit side roads onto a busy dual carriageway, with speeding traffic.

"The money spent on this project is worth the investment in accident prevention and deaths."

County cabinet member for highways Phil Bibby said: “I’d like to thank people for bearing with us while we’ve been carrying out these important works.

"I know that they have caused some delays and disruption for traffic using this section of the A414, especially as some of our suppliers have been hit by the COVID-19 restrictions, which has delayed the work. However, the end result is a safer junction with more reliable traffic flow, and that will improve journeys along this busy section of road.”