LETTER: Closing traffic lights would be a disaster

I WAS interested to read the letter (January 30) from the residents of Lutener Road, in Midhurst, regarding the proposed one-way system for that road between the A286 and A272.

What Patricia Luke and her colleagues say makes perfect ‘commonsense’ but that is a phrase which appears to be unknown in the language of the Highways Agency.

The one which they favour, when asked an awkward question is: “We do not have that information available.”

The same problem exists in relation to the proposed removal of traffic lights and closure of the junction between Oving Road and Shopwyke Road.

Since the lights were reconfigured in (I believe) 2008, that junction must be one of the safest and most driver friendly in the country.

One rarely has to stop for more than a couple of minutes at busy times and there is no real risk of accidents, provided nobody breaks the rules or jumps a red light. And it is a safe crossing, unlike the Bognor Road roundabout.

I know drivers who go out of their way to use the safe Oving Crossing.

At a public meeting early in 2012, a representative from the Highways Agency stated since the lights were reconfigured the number of accidents at the junction had only reduced from 3.7 per annum to 3.2 per annum.

When one considers there will be several million vehicles passing through that junction during a year, a figure of 3.7 is negligible.

Besides which, there was no indication of what those accidents involved.

How does one reach an average of 3.7?

Mathematically, the only way to reach that figure is to divide 37 by 10. So over a ten-year period there must have been 37 minor accidents.

And then, up until 2011, it reduced to only 3.2 per annum. So to give a fair comparison they must have used the figures from 2001 to 2008 and added those for 2010 and 2011, which may well have been zero.

When asked for the figures for 2012, guess what, that information was not available.

I pass through that junction several times a day and the only serious accident which I can recall was the one recently when a man had a heart attack at the wheel.

It is my belief there has not been a single accident at the Oving crossing since the lights were reconfigured.

Several times each day, during busy periods, the west-bound traffic does become congested because of the congestion at the Bognor Roundabout. While that traffic is brought to a standstill, something like 50 vehicles cross through the junction every couple of minutes. All of those will be added to the general melee at the Whyke and Portfield roundabouts if the crossing is closed.

Closure of the Oving lights will be an enormous and unforgivable disaster.

But that of course is just ‘commonsense’.

Ken Strudwick

Shopwyke Road

Chichester