Safety fears on village road as A507 closed for work on Clophill roundabout

Call for measures to control traffic speeds along narrow lane during temporary 'A' road closure
An artist's impression of the roundaboutAn artist's impression of the roundabout
An artist's impression of the roundabout

A plea has been made for mitigation measures along a rural Bedfordshire lane because of the risk of accidents, during a temporary closure of part of the A507 this weekend.

Residents fear Warren Lane is being used as a rat run during a £7.8m improvement project to the Clophill roundabout.

The narrow route contains sharp bends and undulates as it links the A507 to the A6, not far from the roundabout.

A section of the A507 from the roundabout towards Shefford will be closed from 8pm on Friday (January 19) until 5am on Monday (January 22).

Central Bedfordshire Council has mapped out an alternative route for traffic. The local authority is obliged to provide a diversion for motorists along another ‘A’ road when closing a route of the same calibre.

Drivers will be encouraged to travel from the A507 along Hitchin Road to Hitchin, and then across to Luton via the A505 to link up with the A6 heading north to Barton-le-Clay and Clophill.

Two routes close to the roundabout leading to the A6, The Causeway in Clophill and Warren Lane, will be marked ‘for access only’ during the temporary closure of the main road.

A CBC spokeswoman said in a statement: “I can confirm that Warren Lane isn’t being used as a diversionary route for this closure of the A507. A formal diversion route is in place elsewhere in the area.”

One of the concerned residents is Paul Downing, who attended a meeting where safety issues were raised.

“My concerns weren’t addressed there. One of the CBC staff suggested there was no link between increased accidents in Warren Lane and the ongoing roadworks,” he explained.

“It’s plain and obvious that significantly more traffic is using this lane since the work began. The damage to hedgerows, ditches and trees along the lane tell the story.

“All I’ve asked for is sight of any risk assessment for closing this stretch of the A507 and the consequences of traffic diverting down Warren Lane.

“I’m realistic as the traffic must go somewhere. But Warren Lane is a twisty, curvy, uphill, downhill, narrow lane with frost pockets and a propensity to freeze over when water runs off the fields.

“Any mitigation CBC thinks appropriate to make the lane safer when it effectively becomes the A507/A6 link for closures would be welcome, including weight restrictions or temporary speed limits.

“Minimal changes were made to the lane two years ago, following a road death on Beadlow Bends,” he added. “As such a small portion of the road was changed to 50mph, still way too fast in my opinion.

“A neighbour has been challenging CBC for years asking for a footway to be created or a reduced speed limit put in place.

“The lane used to be one where we could walk, ride bikes and horses along, or walk dogs, but not now and definitely not during these works.”

Mr Downing has written to CBC chief executive Marcel Coiffait and the local authority’s highways department to voice his concerns.