WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 3rd May 2023

Disconnected Highway Design Team

Earlier this year the County Council adopted a network management plan for 2023 to 2028 in which they are prioritising walking and wheeling, cycling, riding and public transport ahead of motorcycles, shared vehicles such as car clubs, and cars, vans, and lorries.

This doesn’t seem to have filtered down to the highways team, or perhaps it’s just that highways design is done years before the road features are built.

The Highways Department at the County Council have to approve all road, footpath and cycleway designs, but they appear to only look at the designs from the point of view of a motor vehicle.

Take the roundabout on the A417 on the edge of Wantage, where the Wantage Eastern Relief Road meets the A417 Reading Road. Traffic leaving the roundabout and driving into Wantage will be travelling at 40 miles per hour and pedestrians and cyclists will have to take their lives in their hands to cross the road.

It wouldn’t have been difficult to design the approaches to the roundabout with central reservations to allow a refuge for pedestrians and cyclists in the middle of the road, but that wasn’t considered by the Highways team.

In a similar way, at the roundabout at the other end of the Wantage Eastern Relief Road, where it meets the A338 at the end of Mably Way, the cycle route across the roundabout between Grove and Wantage is diverted up the hill away from the roundabout.

Perhaps a Toucan crossing or traffic lights on the roundabout would have been safer for the walking and cycling people who the County Council says should have priority.

The main cycle route between Wantage and Grove goes along this stretch of the A338 and will now be broken by the entrance to the new Lidl store (likely to open by the end of 2023), the roundabout and the entrance to the new Care Home on Grove Road.

So much for priority for cycling.

There was supposed to be a roundabout on the A417 on the other side of Wantage in East Challow but the Highways Team said it couldn’t be built because the slope of the road was more than seven degrees.

I am sure that the slope coming into both of the roundabouts on the Wantage Eastern Relief Road from the East must be a similar slope but for some reason there are no objections from the Highways Department.

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