A505 campaigner on safety improvement progress and wrong-way driver near-miss
- Credit: Lynsey Langdon
A road safety campaigner has spoken out about the speed of improvement works on the A505 - and the heart-stopping moment she was confronted with a wrong-way driver on the stretch.
The latest round of improvement works on the Royston to Baldock stretch starts next month at the Litlington turn.
Lynsey Langdon has been campaigning for changes ever since her policeman husband Greig broke his back in a crash at Slip End in 2016 - and her family continues to feel the effects of that time.
Royston's Lynsey - a mobile hairdresser - told the Crow: "It still makes me feel sick. It's been five years since Greig's accident. Even when our kids bring it up, I don't want to talk about it.
"Hearing about the crashes that are still going on just takes you back to that day. It's not even one family going through it, there are so many crashes all the time."
Lynsey's Make the A505 Safer Facebook group has now reached the 3,000-member mark and it continues to get new followers all the time - meaning concern about the road isn't going away.
The Crow has been campaigning for safety improvements on the A505 from Royston to Baldock since January 2018, backing Lynsey's call for action after reporting on so many collisions and near-misses.
We also know there are terrible crashes over the border on the Cambs side, but as the majority of incidents we cover are on the North Herts side - our campaign efforts are currently focussed here.
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Lynsey continued: "I sound like I'm repeating myself, because I know we talk about it a lot but if they change the speed from Slip End to past Odsey both ways, I believe that would help. We could crowdfund towards the cost of signs if that is needed. If my page's 3,000 followers put in a pound that would get it on its way. But we don't hear much about what is happening."
"The pandemic put plans on the back burner, I get it. And during the lockdowns there weren't many cars on the road. But now everything is opening up again, everyone's are back to work pretty much.
"I get that people cause crashes, but the layout of the road is no longer fit for purpose. It was all right in the 70s when they widened the road, but now there are many, many more cars.
In 2018, a feasibility study was carried out on the Herts stretch by Herts County Council, and it was found that on average one car a day travels the wrong way down the A505 from the Odsey junction.
Lynsey continued: "I get that roundabouts cost millions, I am a realistic person. But do something now, that's what everyone wants. it's such a fast road and to use the Odsey junction where there are so many cars going in different direction.
"I've now had my first experience of a wrong way driver. I was with my son and came on the A505 at Baldock, and was driving near the old Horse & Groom pub towards Royston.
"I had my 17-year-old son, Jack, with me and it was in the day time. A black Mazda appeared going towards us and I was shocked, I couldn't believe it. I tried to get his attention, I was hooting him, and had my hand out the window and was signalling him to turn around and he waved.
"I thought 'surely he's going to turn around'. I wanted him to pull over so we could have a chat about how he got it so wrong but he went, and I didn't see him come back.
"Loads of people see wrong way drivers on that road, and I never had until that point. It happens so often on this terrible road. It's almost like a rite of passage living in Royston, and it shouldn't be that way. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought the car was on the back of something being towed at first, then realised it was coming towards me."
According to Royston West and Rural County Councillor Steve Jarvis - who represent the villages along the A505 as well as part of Royston - work on the Litlington turning is due to start on July 26.
He said: "This work will involve building a new traffic island and filling part of the gap in the central reservation so that traffic coming out of the Litlington turning has to turn left.
"This should make the junction safer and prevent people turning the wrong way.
"Litlington was picked as the first junction to have this sort of work since it has the worst record for accidents where someone was injured and it is only a short distance to the roundabout for those who want to travel towards Baldock.
"It is only a small step after so many people's efforts over many years, but at least it is a step forward."