Why is this Penwortham junction proving perilous?

A redesigned road junction on a major route in and out of Preston has been branded an accident blackspot by a resident who uses it everyday.

By Paul Faulkner
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 1:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 2:26 pm
A resident has witnessed crashes and near misses as drivers exit Bank Top Road....
A resident has witnessed crashes and near misses as drivers exit Bank Top Road....

Dianne Wilkinson says she has witnessed two smashes in the space of a week at the Golden Way roundabout – and regularly sees near misses and risky manoeuvres.

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The junction – on the A582 in Penwortham – has been remodelled ahead of the opening of the Penwortham bypass early next year. The roundabout will connect the new route at its eastern end to the wider road network in the area.

A resident has witnessed crashes and near misses as drivers exit Bank Top Road....

But since the new layout came into operation earlier this year, Dianne says the sequencing and positioning of the traffic lights has been causing confusion for drivers on Golden Way – as well as a risk to those approaching from residential side roads.

“I think people are looking at the wrong lights half the time,” she explains.

“There is a pedestrian set just beyond the roundabout and drivers see that they are on green and go – even though the lights right in front of them are red. That’s the only reason I can imagine why so many people are jumping them.

“If you come out of Bank Top Road from the estate where I live, you often find someone shooting straight towards the side of you from the roundabout.”

...putting them into the path of some motorists on the Golden Way roundabout who jump - and flatten - the lights

Dianne witnessed a three-car crash at the junction earlier this month – which ended up flattening one of the flummoxing signals – and another smash just days later. It prompted her to complain to Lancashire County Council which sent a highways officer out to speak to her about her concerns.

But as she was describing the problem, an example unfolded right in front of them.

“A motorcyclist went through on red and if a car waiting to exit the side road had been quick off the mark, it would have had him off his bike.

“It’s just really confusing whichever direction you approach from. If you’re travelling towards Leyland, there are three sets of lights on the roundabout – one goes green while the next set is red; then they go to green and the set [after that] is red.”

Mixed signals - is it confusing for drivers when the pedestrian lights beyond the roundabout show green, while those on it are at red?

Some of the signals at the junction have so-called louvre shutters across their green lights to prevent them being seen from too great a distance. That feature is supposed to stop far away signals being misinterpreted by motorists who should be obeying lights which are closer to their position on the roundabout.

But Dianne also pointed out that there are only a few railings at the junction, meaning pedestrians risk getting caught up in any accidents which do occur.

A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said that the authority is looking into the issues raised, but pointed out that the railings which are in place at the junction are “to prevent pedestrians from crossing where it would not be safe…and guide them towards the formal crossing points which have been provided – they are not designed to act as a safety barrier to protect pedestrians from vehicles.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked Lancashire Police for its record of reported accidents at the junction in recent months, but was advised that the statistics could be supplied only via a freedom of information request.

These special slats across the green lights are supposed to stop them being seen from too far away - by drivers to whom they do not apply