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Hit-and-run raises safety concerns about traffic lights at Portobello Crossroads

Fears about the safety of the Portobello crossroads on the A429 near Shipston escalated following a hit-and-run last weekend.

On Sunday afternoon (20th June) at 2.30pm, a Land Rover collided with two cars and tore down a set of traffic lights after turning right onto the A429 from Campden Road.

The vehicle then fled the scene.

There has been disquiet about the safety of the crossroads since the traffic lights were installed in late 2019.

The junction had been the site of a number of serious and fatal accidents in recent years. The death of a 25-year-old man in 2014 prompted residents, and then district councillor Jeff Kenner, to set up a campaign and petition, demanding a roundabout be installed at the junction to minimise further accidents.

Despite concerns that a traffic light system would not meet safety concerns on the road, Warwickshire County Council went ahead with the option.

Since then locals have reported seeing drivers confused by the signals – some turn right on a red light after mistaking a green filter light for the left lane as a signal for them to go.

How the old crossing looked. (48642656)
How the old crossing looked. (48642656)

Dave Spragg was one of many Shipston residents who posted on Facebook concerns about the safety of the current traffic light system.

He said: “I did say a long time ago it’s flawed due to no signage to say the right-hand lanes are turn-right only and left-hand lanes are ahead only. Also, the speed limit should be 40mph at the junction.

“It’s even worse at night as the road markings are not that clear in bad weather.”

However, Shipston driving instructor John Curtis pointed out that drivers just needed to be more aware.

He said: “I have had no problems at Portobello crossroads and I have driven through from all directions regularly.

“If you have a brain it’s clear – if the lights on red you stop, if it’s on green you can go.”

After Sunday’s incident Mr Kenner told the Herald: “It took a long fight by our campaign to get the traffic lights at the Portobello crossroads. They are an improvement and have reduced the risk of the most dangerous accidents but we have always said that a roundabout would be much safer based on advice from experts and data from international studies on safety at crossroads.

“We await more information about the cause of this worrying incident and call on the county council to investigate the matter and follow police advice. In our view only a roundabout will address public concern about safety at the crossroads.”

A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson responded: "In partnership with other agencies, such as the police, Warwickshire County Council monitor all highway schemes post implementation to ensure that they are operating as intended and adhere to all required standards. In the case of Portobello Crossroads, no collisions resulting in injury have been reported since the signalised junction was implemented and there are currently no plans to modify the junction. Where non-injury collisions have resulted in damage to structures on the highway, our officers will take the necessary steps to safely enact repairs."

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