Commuter road crossing schedulued for May

A LONG-AWAITED crossing on a busy commuter road through Backwell could be in place as early as the end of May.

And residents, who began campaigning for it 13 years ago, are ‘delighted’, despite it meaning part of a road will have to be permanently closed to traffic.

Work on the A370 is due to start on May 8, at the end of Rushmoor Lane, in West Town Road, between Rushmoor Grove and Church Lane.

North Somerset Council decided it was the only viable location for the user-operated puffin crossing as the pavements elsewhere are too narrow or it would be installed too close to other junctions.

The council’s executive member for strategic planning and highways, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said despite previous objections to the closing of the first three metres of Rushmoor Lane, it is necessary for the safety of pedestrians.

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He said: “Keeping Rushmoor Lane open to vehicles would put them in direct conflict with pedestrians.

“Motorists will be unable to turn in or out of the junction without endangering pedestrians waiting to cross.”

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Consultation with residents and other affected parties is due to end today (Weds).

Dark Lane resident Dr Gail Loveday said: “I’m delighted the crossing is finally going ahead.

“I realise the location has caused some controversy for people directly affected but I’m hoping they are going to be able to see the overall effect the crossing will make to the community, especially for the elderly, disabled and parents.

“This will benefit a large number of people so I ask people to bear this in mind and hope it doesn’t inconvenience them too much.”

Backwell Access Group spokesman Dinah Lloyd said: “I’m very pleased.

“This will make the lives of many villagers, especially the disabled community, a lot easier.”

District councillor Karen Barclay, who led the campaign, said: “It is great news that we are soon to get the crossing.

“The village is effectively cut in half by the busy A370.

“Residents of all ages find it increasingly difficult and dangerous to cross the busy road to safely access the shops, recreation ground and other amenities the village has to offer.

“It has the support of all the local schools and will help with safe routes to and from school, leading to the reduction of car use.”

The work, which includes removing a bus platform, replacing kerbs and pavements and installing bollards and junction boxes, will take about three weeks to complete, with a traffic light system in place to minimise congestion.

Backwell Parish Council has earmarked �25,000 for the scheme, with a remaining �12,000 coming from Bristol Airport’s new community fund.

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