Residents bid to solve traffic misery

Acre Rigg Residents Association, president John Gardner with committee members left to right; Stephen Miles, Gordon carne, Susan McDonnell, Jim Alvey and Maureen Hutchinson.

Acre Rigg Residents Association, president John Gardner with committee members left to right; Stephen Miles, Gordon carne, Susan McDonnell, Jim Alvey and Maureen Hutchinson.

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FED-UP neighbours took matters into their own hands after their lives were made a misery by traffic.

Residents took to the street after they were left reeling from damage to their cars and disturbance from trucks.

Members of Acre Rigg Residents’ Association teamed up with Police Community Support Officer Carol McCombe to carry out a traffic survey in Lowhills Road in Peterlee.

It comes after families noticed an increase in traffic on the road, which links to Davy Drive and Mill Hill on the North West Industrial Estate, after new signals off the A19 were put up.

During an 11-hour period, the team counted 6,500 vehicles, with 226 of those HGVs or buses.

The volunteers also went door-to-door to speak to householders, with almost 60 per cent saying their cars had been damaged while parked up and 64 per cent said they were concerned about the speed, volume of traffic and the number of HGVs.

One suggested solution is to run the traffic lights on the roundabout at Burnhope Way and Shotton Road on a part-time basis because drivers are now using Lowhills Road as a rat run to avoid the junction.

They also want to see a crossing to help people reach the park, social club, therapy unit and bus stops in safety, the restriction of HGVs and monitor speed of traffic.

Another idea is to turn the grass verges at the front of their homes into parking spaces to keep their vehicles off the road.

Susan McDonnell worked alongside fellow members Jimmy Alvey, Gordon Gardner, Maureen Hutchinson and Stephen Miles on the study.

She said: “It’s hoped that working in partnership with one another, this will be just one of a number of problems that can be resolved to improve the Acre Rigg area.”

Dave Wilcox, the council’s strategic highways manager, said the traffic lights were put in to increase road capacity, which would, in turn, allow for future development of the surrounding area.

He added: “Assessments of traffic levels also showed work was needed to avoid the build-up of vehicles on the A19 as traffic increased in the future.

“The signalling system includes crossing provision for pedestrians and cyclists and it is, therefore, necessary for them to operate on a full-time basis for the safety of all road users.

“In addition, studies have shown that part-time signals can result in higher accident rates.

“We are monitoring the junction and have already made some changes to improve traffic flow, amending road markings to allow the use of both lanes on the southbound off-slip-road.”

Plans are already being made to harden some of the grass verges in Lowhills Road and work is underway to look at traffic volume and speed.