Villagers hit out at 'dreadful' impact of HS2 construction work making roads 'dangerous'

Residents say they have been left to deal with the “dreadful consequences” of traffic chaos due to HS2 roadworks.

Villagers are furious after slip road closures on the A38 for HS2 works caused chaos on local routes
Villagers are furious after slip road closures on the A38 for HS2 works caused chaos on local routes

In recent weeks there have been overnight lane closures and sealed off exits on the on the A38 at Streethay, while preparatory works take place for the controversial high speed rail line.

It has had a devastating impact on nearby villages, according to residents, with some country roads turned into rat runs and others left blocked with HGVs.

And they fear the situation is about to get worse, with the southbound slip road due to close next month for up to 14 months, while the northbound slip road will close in January for up to eight months.

The line is due to pass under the A38 east of Streethay as it carves through 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside.

People in Whittington say they have been badly hit by the works.

Bob Wood, Rosalind Wells and Bob's father, Joseph Eric Wood, next to a wall on Burton Road, which has been damaged due to lorries trying to reverse along the narrow road

Rosalind Wells, who lives on Brookhay Lane, said drivers were racing past her house at high speed having been diverted off the A38.

“We are experiencing an excessive volume of traffic, travelling at high speed, with drivers unfamiliar with the roads,” she said.

“Our usual local traffic of residents, tractors and equestrians are now being put in serious danger.

“Some parts of the road are narrow and have passing places only and are totally unsuitable for vehicles travelling at speed.

“We have a sharp blind bend, tractors and other very large farm machinery and high speed traffic. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Mrs Wells said there were fears that a serious smash in the village just over a week ago – which saw paramedics called out after a car hit a wall – “won’t be the last”.

HS2 is mired in controversy

“We are concerned that this dangerous diversion will result in more accidents and injury over the coming months,” she added.

Local parish councillor Bob Wood said the village had struggled to cope with traffic issues for decades, and that the HS2 works had exacerbated the problems.

He said narrow bridges at entry points to the village had been damaged after being struck by vehicles, while a poorly signed low bridge frequently led to lorries getting trapped.

“We regularly get HGVs trying to cut through to get back on the A38, but they often get stuck and have to reverse from the bridge against the flow of traffic,” he said.

“It is dangerous for other drivers and dangerous for pedestrians.”

Mr Wood says appeals to the relevant authorities to reduce the speed limit through the village to 20mph and for a new footbridge to be installed had so far fallen on deaf ears.

Residents of Whittington are furious after slip road closures on the A38 for HS2 works caused chaos on local routes.

Other routes impacted by the HS2 works include Cappers Lane and Watery Lane, where residents say they have been unable to get off their drives due to gridlocked traffic.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant, an opponent of HS2, said he had been speaking to residents about the issues.

He said he had held talks with Lichfield police about the “considerable disruption” the closures would cause residents.

“I believe there needs to be diversion signs erected with alternative, practical routes rather than the use of narrow lanes and even narrower canal bridges, which are unsuitable for traffic, let alone HGVs,” he said.

“I am aware that residents on certain roads, including Watery Lane, are unable to leave their premises with their vehicles because of jams up and down narrow roads.

“I will be taking the issue up again with county highways and with the police to see whether this can be mitigated in any way.”

The Armitage and Handsacre community speedwatch group said volunteers monitoring traffic recorded more than 1,400 vehicle movements in just one hour, a figure they said was “totally astonishing”.

Speeding vehicles is a serious problem for villagers

A spokesperson for HS2 said: “HS2 takes its responsibility to impacted communities very seriously, and we try to minimise disruption wherever possible.

"We need to implement some traffic management on the A38 and we are working with National Highways to do this.

"There are diversions in place for drivers, and we will continue to let the community know the detail of works through advance notifications."

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