Nine weeks after a “dangerous” road junction was unveiled, highways bosses have bowed to pressure and are trialling a new layout.
On Monday evening, commuters travelling down Penwortham Hill discovered the outside lane is now dedicated to traffic going straight on over the old Penwortham Bridge and the inside lane is for motorists travelling up the slip road towards Preston Docks.
Cones on the sliproad have narrowed it to one give-way lane instead of two. Traffic from Penwortham still has to give way to traffic on the flyover, but a longer taper on the approach allows more time for drivers to merge.
The junction was changed in December to give priority to vehicles on the flyover in a bid to reduce congestion on the A582, and although County Council officers insist changes were safe, they have responded to complaints from drivers.
Motorists said the angle made it difficult to see what was coming and which lanes vehicles are in, they were forced to lane-hop, and people did not take notice of the give-way signs.
Councillors including Pewortham County Coun David Howarth labelled the junction “nothing short of dangerous” after a series of crashes.
Speaking about the December changes, Phil Barrett, director for Lancashire County Council highway services, said: “This has been successful at reducing congestion on the A582 but not all drivers have adapted well to the change of priorities at the junction with Penwortham Hill and, while the new junction is laid out according to national regulations and is safe if used as intended, we are responding to the way some drivers are actually behaving.
“The new system we’re trialling still gives priority to traffic on the flyover but is intended to make it easier for drivers to use the junction.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation to see how it is working and consider what the best permanent solution may be.”