New Horsforth road layout is 'recipe for disaster'

Wharfedale Observer: Councillor Brian Cleasby Councillor Brian Cleasby

Roadworks at a congested Horsforth roundabout are a recipe for disaster, it is being claimed.

Ward councillor Brian Cleasby is warning that the scheme could create a major accident blackspot.

But Leeds City Council is stressing that changes will improve safety. A spokesman said the design had gone through a formal safety audit and ward councillors had been consulted on the proposals as they developed.

Rush-hour congestion is currently caused by the three lanes on the roundabout merging into one lane on the Rodley exit, causing a bottleneck and tailbacks.

Coun Cleasby said while the proposed solution of merging the lanes halfway down the hill from Horsforth to Rodley seemed a sensible one, it would replace the low-speed congestion at the roundabout with the potential for high-speed collisions further down the hill.

He said: “The lanes are set to merge at an extremely busy point of the Outer Ring Road.  Traffic driving towards each other can reach a legal combined speed over 100mph. The lanes merging, drivers fighting over priority plus the high speed of oncoming traffic – it’s a recipe for disaster.

“I have campaigned for many years for works to be done to reduce congestion at this extremely busy point of the ring road but it needs to be done with safety being paramount.

“I just hope that officers listen to my concerns and act on them before it becomes a major accident blackspot.”

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “Much planning and research goes into the design of all new road layouts and safety is always a prime concern. We consider historical accidents records to determine the likelihood of any future accidents occurring, and our records at this location show no recorded accidents associated with the merging of traffic on the Rodley exit in the last five years.

“The proposed improvements to Horsforth Roundabout include the installation of traffic signals to control traffic through the roundabout junction.  Traffic levels on the roundabout will also be controlled at a manageable level which will improve safety and also avoid moving traffic being blocked by stationary vehicles.  The roundabout exit towards Rodley will be widened to give a significantly greater length of road for traffic to merge more safely and the approach from Rodley will be widened to three lanes.

“The design has gone through a formal safety audit process and the proposed merging of traffic was not identified as a safety concern.  We are confident the scheme proposals will improve safety for all road users at this location and also increase the efficiency of the junction.

“The ward councillors have all been consulted on the proposals as they have been developed.”

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