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UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout faces night closures due to pre-opening crash

The design of the Cambridge roundabout played no part in the accident, the council said.

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The UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout

The UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout, which prioritises cyclists and pedestrians over motorists, has been forced to close for three nights due to a car crash that happened the day before its opening ceremony.

A driver collided with a Belisha beacon next to one of the zebra crossings on July 30, Cambridgeshire County Council said.

The Cambridge roundabout was still able to open as planned on July 31 but is now being closed for three nights so the damage can be assessed and any necessary repairs carried out.

Its first closure was on Monday and the council said work should be completed on Wednesday.

The Dutch-style roundabout raised questions about whether motorists would understand it, but Cambridgeshire County Council insists its design played no part in the crash.

Cyclists have an outer ring on the roundabout, with cycle crossings over each of the four approach roads in a contrasting red surface.

There are also zebra crossings over each approach road for pedestrians.

Motorists must give way to pedestrians and to cyclists when joining and leaving the roundabout.

UK’s first Dutch style roundabout in Cambridge
The UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout in Cambridge faces three night closures after a car crashed into a Belisha beacon the day before it opened (Joe Giddens/PA)

Reduced lane widths on the roundabout and at exit and entry points are designed to encourage drivers to slow down.

In a statement on Tuesday, Cambridgeshire County Council said: “This accident happened 12 days ago, before the roundabout opened and when it was still operating under temporary traffic lights.

“A car collided with a Belisha beacon column, causing it to lean slightly.

“The driver failed to stop at the scene.

“While the Belisha beacon is still working properly, the night-time closures are to assess the damage and carry out the necessary repairs.

“There have been no accidents at the new roundabout since it opened on July 31.

“The first of the night-time closures was on Monday and we expect the work to be completed on Wednesday.

“The design of the roundabout played no part in the accident.”

TRANSPORT Roundabout
(PA Graphics)

The authority said the old roundabout near the city’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital “was perceived by many people to be dangerous to cycle around”.

People also “reported feeling unsafe when walking in the area due to a lack of pedestrian crossings, particularly more vulnerable users”, the council said.

Some have criticised the cost of the scheme, originally estimated at around £800,000, which had almost trebled to £2.3 million by the end of the project.

UK’s first Dutch style roundabout in Cambridge
The UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout cost almost £2.3m (Joe Giddens/PA)

A council highways report cited additional utility work including BT and UK Power Networks cabling, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, as reasons for this.

Roxanne De Beaux, executive director of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, said the new roundabout “feels like a small piece of Dutch cycling heaven”.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said the roundabout “may well be an unusual junction to navigate in the first instance”.

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