St Albans longabout improvements finally set to become a reality

Cllr Chris Brazier at the longabout, Colney Heath.

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

Potentially life-saving changes to a notorious accident blackspot are finally set to be introduced after over a decade of campaigning.

Cllr Chris Brazier at the longabout, Colney Heath.

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

Herts county council (HCC) has discussed changing the layout of the Colney Heath longabout after it was classified as a hazardous site and more than 1,100 residents signed a petition calling for its modification.

In a 2014 review of accidents, 20 personal injury collisions were recorded at the site between 2011 and 2013 - more than three times as many needed to qualify as a hazardous site.

Accidents are frequent - there was a seven car smash when a woman veered off the road in 2014, a motorcyclist suffered a broken leg after hitting a car in 2013, and in 2012 the eastbound carriage was shut after a car was pushed onto the central reservation and two people were taken to hospital.

Campaigners have been pushing for improvements for more than 10 years. It was suggested traffic lights and a cut-through across the main island would help solve the treacherous area by slowing down cars and creating a shortcut for some of congestion.

At an HCC meeting on September 5, Colney Heath parish councillor and petition founder, Margaret Nash, described a common scenario for drivers on the longabout: “On the inside lane from a lorry is a lad on a motorcycle. He doesn’t know the road well and hasn’t noticed that what appears to be a fairly straight road is actually a roundabout. He is travelling fast towards the junction.

“The motorcyclist can’t see you, nor you him, the lorry is in the way. You are now in the middle of the junction and as you go across the westbound carriageway the motorcyclist is there, just left of your car, doing 70mph. What’s going to happen?

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“He may swerve off the road or he may hit your car - either way you could end up watching him die while the ambulance is called.”

HCC has agreed to prioritise and address the issue for the financial year 2019-2020, and Margaret thanked everyone who signed the petition.

St Albans district Cllr Chris Brazier said the meeting went well: “We have been going for 12 years now so actually getting a date set is quite a victory.

“I am happy to get a date set, and I will keep pushing - but to get something set in stone is good, because it’s really affecting people’s lives now.”