New design for Oundle Road will lead to confusion - LETTER
As someone who regularly drives on Oundle Road between the A1 and Lynch Wood I am dismayed by the design of the £2.3m road scheme which will convert the eastbound carriageway into two narrow lanes, as little as 3.2m wide, between Alwalton junction and the Showground roundabout.
At present, when traffic queues at the junction, drivers give way to each other and merge in turn. The creation of two parallel lanes will result in jostling for position and confusion as drivers attempt to switch lanes. Many who arrive from Elton and the A1 northbound will switch lanes to turn left into Lynch Wood, while many arriving from Alwalton village and the A1 southbound will need to change lane to go straight ahead or right at the roundabout.
This section of road is also used by many cyclists, especially outside peak periods and at weekends. Cyclists are taught to ride around 1m from the nearside of the carriageway and drivers should give at least 1.5m clearance when passing. Where the carriageway is less than around 4.5m wide cyclists are advised to ‘take the lane’, i.e. ride in the centre of the lane, to make it less likely they will be put at risk by a ‘close pass’.
It is dangerous to overtake cyclists where the road is narrow and the city council has highlighted this with warning signs at the central island near Arena Drive. Unless drivers can move outside their lane to overtake they may have to follow a cyclist for more than 400 yards, travelling perhaps at only 12mph.
The planned left filter into Lynch Wood will improve traffic flow, but it would be much safer if drivers continue to merge into one lane at the Alwalton junction before splitting into two lanes much closer to the roundabout.
There is ample space to create full width lanes, together with on-carriageway cycle lanes, but the city council says this would be too costly.
Traffic congestion has been minimal since the closure of Thomas Cook and vehicles no longer queue to leave the A1 southbound.
There is now no urgency to change the road layout. The present scheme should be scrapped and replaced by a safer, more effective design which could be part funded by the major residential development planned for the Showground site.