Plea to reduce speed at danger A505 junction refused

PLEAS to reduce the speed limit near an “extremely dangerous” A505 junction have been thrown out by Hertfordshire County Council.

Councillors from both Herts and Cambs had worked to reduce the limit to 50mph from 70mph on the Odsey junction but it is now claimed Hertfordshire County Council may increase the speed limit.

Hertfordshire Highways’ Speed Management Group review of A-road speed limits is alleged to state that the A505 is a ‘great example’ of a 75mph road.

Councillor Linda Oliver, who represents Bassingbourn on Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It beggars belief that we have had so many meetings with Hertfordshire County Council officers, Cambridgeshire County Council officers, the police and the parish council chairman from Steeple Morden.

“I have even talked at the Joint Members Panel for Highways for North Hertfordshire District Council and we were in agreement that improvements need to be made to that junction.

“We are all in agreement that the speed limit needs to be reduced on that stretch of road.”

The junction sees cars pulling away from a stop into high speed traffic and a section of the road cuts across the central reservation – meaning a driver can pass across four lanes of 70mph traffic.

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Although there have been no fatal or serious accidents on the stretch of road over the past few years the chairman of Steeple Morden Parish Council claims there have been several close calls.

Councillor John Brockelhurst, of Odsey, said: “I haven’t seen the complete findings but one piece has been quoted that the A505 is a good example of a 75mph road which I think is complete madness.

“Over the past few months there have been a number of pieces of anecdotal evidence of people coming towards Royston and darting out and coming back down and an articulated lorry doing a three point turn.

“It’s an extremely dangerous junction in the eyes of the people who use it.”

It is now hoped a joint project between Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire’s County Councils can work to improve the junction with sighting possibly improved.

This is because Odsey is in Cambridgeshire but that stretch of the A505 is managed by Hertfordshire Highways.

District councillor Tony Hunter, Hertfordshire county councillor and member of the JMP, said: “We have been aware for a number of years that this is a problem junction.

“It wasn’t built as a dual carriageway ,it was built piecemeal over a number of years.

“The JMP has received a number of complaints and we’re in full agreement as a group that something ought to be done.

“We suggested that the speed limit could be reduced in conjunction with a number of improvements.”

The group’s suggestions were looked at as the authority was reviewing speed limits on Hertfordshire’s A-roads and it was found that under government guidelines it was not suitable to be reduced.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Highways said: “We installed safety cameras along the A505 in 2007 and since then we have had two accidents along this stretch of road. They were not related to speeding or to the Odsey junction.

“Hertfordshire Highways’ Speed Management Group, which includes the police, has undertaken a review of speed limits on Hertfordshire’s A roads.

“This review concluded that the national speed limit is appropriate for this road.”