End our traffic nightmare plea

Prospective county councillor Susan McDonnell.
Prospective county councillor Susan McDonnell.

CAMPAIGNERS say something needs to be done about traffic flow around the site of a horror road smash.

Susan McDonnell, who is secretary of Acre Rigg Residents’ Association, is calling for something to be done about the traffic lights at the end of Burnhope Way, at the junction with the A19, in Peterlee.

She says motorists have been using several roads off Burnhope Way as a rat-run to cross the Acre Rigg estate and avoid the traffic lights.

Problem streets include Willerby Grove, close to the scene of a smash between a car and a stolen motorbike that left two teenagers with serious injuries.

She told the Mail: “People have complained to me about motorists using their streets as a rat-run because of the lights.

“It is the traffic lights that are set up in such a way, and the council refuses to put them on part time.

“There is a never-ending stream of traffic and I have seen a number of accidents at that junction.

“Any traffic coming from Pennine Drive, Acre Rigg Road or Willerby Grove has a nightmare.”

Dave Wafer, Durham County Council’s strategic traffic manager, said: “When we took the decision to introduce the traffic signals we had to strike a balance between being able to manage large volumes of traffic at the busy times of day against causing minor delays at quieter times.

“On reflection we still consider the decision to introduce the signals was the right one to deal with both current and future traffic levels.

“We similarly consider that the provision of facilities for pedestrians and cyclists is equally important at this busy location, with people regularly crossing between the housing and industrial areas.

“We understand that motorists can become frustrated at being delayed when traffic levels are very low, but any junction which includes pedestrian facilities must be switched on permanently.

“While a permanent pedestrian facility is important for all those walking in the area, it is of crucial importance to anyone who may have a visual impairment.

“As Willerby Grove does not form a natural bypass for the traffic signals it is difficult to understand how changing the traffic lights to a part-time operation would have any beneficial effect on current traffic levels.”