"How many more people will lose their lives before something is done?"


Following the tragic news that two people died in a crash on the Alderley Edge bypass last week, dozens of motorists have taken to social media to call for improvements to make the road safer.

The fatal collision involving two vehicles occurred at approximately 4pm on Friday, 3rd November, and resulted in the death of an 85-year-old man and an 82-year-old woman from Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Just three weeks earlier there was a serious accident involving three vehicles on the A34 Melrose Way. Fire crews were at the scene for approximately 50 minutes on October 12th, they released one man who was trapped in an overturned vehicle and a second man who was trapped in a separate vehicle.

At the time a police spokesperson said "One sustained minor injuries, a 19-year-old man sustained serious injuries and a 37-year-old man sustained life threatening injuries. He is currently in a stable but critical condition."

In September 2013, 11-year-old Flynn Morrissey was tragically killed in a head on collision whilst travelling to school. A red Porsche crossed into the opposite carriageway on a bend in the road and into the path of a Ford Focus being driven by his mother Nicola Clifford.

Readers have contacted us by email as well as posting messages on the websites, Facebook and Twitter calling for action to be taken before there is another terrible accident. Below is a sample of the messages posted:

"This was designed as a dual carriageway originally so all.the sight lines are wrong for a single carriageway.... absolute negligence!!!"

"Awful bit of road, bad design that's costing lifes! Needs petitioning for better road markings or a centre barrier."

"Speed cameras have to be installed. Its only a matter of time before there is yet another crash on that stretch. So sad."

"What on earth is going on with this bypass ? Something has to be done to stop these terrible accidents! So sad."

"I hate this stretch of bypass it's really dangerous it's time something was done to make it safer."

"I think a lower speed limit and a couple of cameras may help as people go so fast along it..."

"This should have never been built without a central reservation. How many more people will lose their lives before something is done? I'll never drive on this road."

"Needs to be dual carriageway.... I've had a couple of near misses with cars overtaking slow moving traffic here. People need to stop crawling down this part of the bypass as it causes inpatient drivers to overtake and there's too many crests to check the road is clear properly."

"Should have been dual track all the way as people try overtaking and it's so blind in places would have been far safer as dual track all the way. So sad yet again another tragic accident on this stretch something needs to be done."

"I use this road countless times every single day as a taxi driver and thankfully have never had a problem. However despite driving at the speed limit I still get over taken by other cars doing inexcess of 80mph. Speed cameras are needed."

"Definitely negligence! It feels like a dual carriageway! It should be closed immediately and restructured!"

"This is the second bad accident now on this road so clearly there are serious issue with the design of the road. Wouldn't be surprised if it was due to cutting costs, shameful negligence."

"Such a badly designed road and it's costing precious lives. So sad."

"Speed cameras needed. Solid white line so no over taking. Lighting needs to addressed too. Such a sad story and could be avoided."

Others have commented that it is not the road which is dangerous but the way people drive on it.

"The problem is the idiotic drivers on the road not the road itself. Don't know why there's no speed cameras!"

"This is terrible news but why does everyone blame the road? Drive to the conditions, visibility etc and you will not crash (well, not on your own anyway)."

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: "Investigations are ongoing to understand the cause of the collision and we will work with the police to determine if any further measures are required as a result.

"During the development stage of the Alderley Edge bypass scheme, predictions were made about the traffic likely to use the new road. This work established that the road would not be required to be built as a dual carriageway and recent traffic counts have confirmed that the road does not carry sufficient traffic for dual carriageway provision."

Alderley Edge Bypass


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Nick Jones
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 3:29 pm
Tragic and on more than one occasion i have been met with an oncoming vehicle overtaking coming towards me.. Maybe a quick cheap fix would be double white lines, hatch markings and reduce the speed limit. Just a thought.
Mike Hough
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 4:07 pm
I don't think the issues with the bypass are anything to do with speeding or a lack of cameras. The single carraigeway part has been a ludicrous bit of road from the beginning. Every penny spent on it was wasted when they made it single lane. They clearly purchased enough land for a dual carraigeway and as someone already said, you cannot see far enough ahead. Its a sequence of road that is undulated and consists of long drifting bends that do not allow a clear view. Couple this with the fact that too many drivers are unnecessarily SLOW and ignorant (ie. have no idea what is going on around them and probably shouldn't have a licence..............you know the sort, middle lane driver types) it is only frustrating other road users who want to get on at a reasonable speed (not excessive speed, just the norm). So slow drivers and poor visibility will bring about these incidents more often than not. As for the council surveys, are they really going off 'predictions'? I think they need to assess whether the centre of Alderley Edge has seen a reduction in vehicles that falls in line with their 'predictions'. I'm guessing not as the single lane bypass section is slow and I for one always avoid using it. The route to the M6 is the same as it has been for the last 40 yrs.....................Into Alderley Edge and right at Ryleys Lane. Best way. ps. I saw comment the other day regarding the bypass posted by a Reverand who amazingly referred to drivers who overtake other drivers as ignorant and bad. Is he the sort that accelerates when someone tries to overtake him. I would suggest that he refers back to the highway code as I'm sure that there is nothing wrong about overtaking another road user. In fact I think that there are clear guidelines as to how you should act when being overtaken. Crazy world we live in.

Just to add, anyone suggesting that lowering the speed limit would help is nuts. That will just cause more overtaking and more risk. The answer in this world of safer cars is a minimum speed limit. Get the slow drivers off the road. Lets face it, they are the ignorant ones and quite frankly, some of the slow speeds that they drive at are just rude. Re take our tests every 5-10 yrs to up the standard. Reduce the number of cars on the road and public transport would work better.
Jon Armstrong
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 5:12 pm
There's a lot of jumping to conclusions here. Before this week there had been one fatal accident on this road in the 7 years since it opened. We have no idea yet what the cause of this recent accident was... it could have been someone had a heart attack at the wheel for all anyone knows.

As has been stated elsewhere, for accidents categorised as serious, the road has actually had about half as many as the road through the middle of Alderley Edge during the same period and a lot less than many other nearby roads.
Jon Williams
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 6:22 pm
Not sure what planet Mike Hough lives on but:
Just to add, anyone suggesting that lowering the speed limit would help is nuts. That will just cause more overtaking and more risk. The answer in this world of safer cars is a minimum speed limit. Get the slow drivers off the road. Lets face it, they are the ignorant ones and quite frankly, some of the slow speeds that they drive at are just rude. Re take our tests every 5-10 yrs to up the standard. Reduce the number of cars on the road and public transport would work better. "

Are you saying get tractors off the by-pass, as well as learner drivers, fully laden trucks, all drivers who want to get from A -B at 50 mph and you are calling them ignorant !

Sorry, but a 50mph is a must and white lines in the center of the road near brook lane bridge. A improvement to the roundabout and roads at the Wilmslow end is a MUST.
Oliver Romain
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 5:38 am
50 mph limit and no overtaking lines would reduce risk at minimal cost.
Julia Prestbury
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 9:51 am
Slow drivers are ignorant??? Are you kidding - the ignorant drivers are the 4x4s, the BMWs etc who drive at excessive speeds, think they own the road and cause the accidents.
Jerry Dixon
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 1:23 pm
The discussion seems somewhat pointless until we know the causes of the recent collisions.
The bypass was built to get as much traffic out of AE village as possible, and it seems to do that. You can't then ban 'slow' vehicles travelling on it. We know the road is not as straight as it might have been because, for (significant) cost and time reasons, it was designed to skirt around the golf course and the tomato farm ie along the line of least resistance. The plans must, however, have met the criteria for highways safety when it was designed and built.
A simple solution may be double white lines, but highways engineers need to evaluate that based on the accident investigation results and possibly a further evaluation of the road.
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 2:22 pm
I think there are two problems on this road that could easily be fixed.

One is that the speed limit is not clear. The only indication of speed is the national speed limit sign (white circle with black diagonal line), which most people don't have a clue what it means. It can mean a 70, 60 or 50 mph limit depending on the road or vehicle.

But which one is it here?

This confusion meas some think it's 50mph, so drive at 45mph "just to be safe". While others think it's 70mph and get frustrated driving behind those doing 45mph. They are then too eager to overtake, which is when accidents can happen.

The actual limit I believe is 60mph though, which is probably everyone's least obvious guess. So firstly, I would make the speed limit clear to everyone. Secondly, there are some blind bends and hills that are not safe to over take on regardless of the speed. These should have solid white lines indicating this.

Both these would help the situation and help drivers act safely. However, there is not much that can be done if they decide to act recklessly though.
Manuel Golding
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 3:43 pm
Obviously there is a serious flaw with the A34 Alderley By-pass. Before there are more fatalities and other life threatening injuries resulting from cars hitting others head-on, a relatively small sum of public money needs to be urgently spent - double white lines throughout (no overtaking lines), three or four average speed cameras and as Cllr Goldsmith suggests, national speed signs indicating max speed as 60 MPH.
John Cookson
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 4:51 pm
I think one problem with the Melrose Way is that it may not be obvious that it is single carriageway - after drivers have come from Manchester direction on dual carriageway then on to the by-pass. You may think it is perfectly obvious, and so it should be - but when people are in a bit of a cocoon and there's no visible traffic coming from the opposite direction it is easy to think for a moment that you're still on dual carriageway.

On other roads like this where there's a switch from dual to single but otherwise similar-looking road you see large signs saying 'single carriageway'. That might be a cheap aid to safety. Along with double white lines where appropriate.
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 4:53 pm
I take onboard the comments re the road design etc, but a sensible driver reads the road, and drives accordingly. Sadly there are to many nutters behind the wheel round here. Like the gold coloured 4x4 Bentley (You know who you are!) that overtook me on that road as a stream of oncoming traffic was approaching. If I had not braked hard and let her in, people would have been killed.
Nik Eastwood
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 5:18 pm
the first time I drove this new route I feared there would be fatal RTC's, as suggested above a 50mph limit, double solid white lines to make it a no overtaking section, and also speed camera's might help too.

some drivers are too accelerator happy though, any vehicle going at a sensible speed is fodder for an overtaking move, and the driver overtaking often hasnt a long enough line of vision ahead to manage it safely.

drivers just dont help themselves sometimes, I was behind a car late on saturday night as I was coming home towards handforth from congleton, the car in front didnt have its lights on, IN AN UNLIT SECTION, I was flashing them from a safe distance behind, as were some oncoming traffic. They were just oblivious to the danger.
Paul Hampton
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 5:38 pm
In the meantime, the entire stretch of AE bypass as well as the section of A34 up to Handforth Dean would benefit from increased patrols from Cheshire Police traffic officers. At evenings and weekends it becomes a test track for performance cars and bikes - often involving ‘racing’ or travelling in organised convoys.

I’d also welcome the CP task force ‘big yellow van’ taking up position. I see them in and around Knutsford regularly, so why not here? Any twitter users can follow that @cptaskforce to see their successes.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 7:10 pm
It is very easy for anybody to express an opinion on this site, which in my opinion is a very good thing. I am doing that right now. All I would ask is that all of us realise that what we are saying is just our opinion. Our opinions are all valid and relevant but they may not all be factually correct.

I appreciate everybody's concern about the number and type of Road Traffic Collisions on this and other sections of the Handforth, Wilmslow, and Alderley Edge By passes (AKA A34)

My professional experience is as a design engineer in the Built Environment. My experience is mainly related to Buildings but I have also done some infrastructure work.

My professional experience tells me that when something goes wrong with a built environment, the uninformed generally jump to conclusions as to what happened; what went wrong; why; how; and in the majority of cases blame ”the design".

I don't know why there seems to be a higher than anticipated / expected number of RTC's on the A34 Bypass. Or whether it is higher than anticipated / expected. All I do know, is that there are numerous reasons why accidents happen and the most common is due to human failing.

This could be human failings of:

1) The designer
2) The installer
3) The maintainer
4) The user.

or a combination of all or any of the above.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 7:12 pm
If any body has seen Jon Williams, can you please let me know which planet you are both on!
David Smith
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 8:56 pm
It is a narrow, two lane road that carries substantial traffic. The speed limit should be 30mph. The average speed will then be nearer 40mph because many motorists - oh, and that of course doesn't mean YOU, the reader does it? - think speed limits apply to all the other road users and anyway. Plus they don't know how to read the 'clock' staring at them from the middle of the instruments that tells them how fast they are going. How about a few spped cameras to punish those who prefer to disobey the rues that are put there to reduce accidents.
Dave Smith.
Peter Evans
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 9:05 pm
There is an awful lot of speculation based opinion in this thread and its quite frustrating that there is so few facts available to base any sensible analysis on. From what I have read, there have been 3 reported accidents in 7 years, reportedly half as many as on the old toad in the same time...? Doesn't sound like a pandemic. So, lets have a blanket 50mph limit, double white lines & average speed cameras all along it to solve the problem. Why not make it 20mph or 10 and, while we're at it, extend this to every road in Cheshire or the UK. Better still, to really reduce accidents let's all have a man with a flag in front of all our cars. Eh, and that would cure unemployment at the same time. Or just ban all BMWs and Bentley!
It is a strategy that there are any accidents of this road, or on any other road. Just awful. We are in great danger of jumping to conclusions here (well, most correspondents), we have no facts avout what caused this accident at present. If someone's dangerous driving was to blame then it's their stupid and irresponsible decision to drive in an inappropriate way on a single carriageway bendy road. They probably drive as stupidly on all bendy roads - So, deal with them not the roads (Or lets get all Roman and make all our roads straight). And let's try to be objective and base our opinions on facts...
John Harries
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 11:58 pm
Most RT accidents are caused by bad driving and poor judgement.
The NSL on this single carriageway is 60mph, in my opinion reducing the 'limit' to 50mph will not do a great deal in safety terms because too many users believe that speed limits do not apply to them anyway - and a combined closing speed of 100mph plus a head-on collision will kill you for sure.
By all means let's have some modest signage additions to take the guesswork out of knowing the speed limit; double white lines will reinforce the message - but we don't need an analysis, survey or big enquiry, all this can be done quickly and at a relatively low cost.
BUT don't be misled into thinking it will stop the idiot speeders and risk takers, and yes, the outright poor drivers tipping the balance of chance for further accidents and heaven forbid, more deaths.
The irony is a roundabout at the southern end of the by-pass (which, let's be honest, 'feels' like' a dual carriageway) bleeding off into the established tree lined single carriageway and THREE sets of traffic lights all in less than 1/3 of a mile - so what on earth is the sense of speeding; go figure Bentley/Beemer/Porsche/Audi man and mam!!
Anne Greenhalgh
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 1:26 am
20 Making progress
Making ProgressDriving well below the speed limit can be as dangerous as driving above it. Particularly if this causes frustration amongst other road users who may feel the need to overtake you when it is unsafe to do so.

Similarly being hesitant at junctions or when approaching hazards or when other road users are clearly giving way can result in dangers as you unexpectedly stop or unnecessarily slow down.

What your examiner is looking for
The examiner is expecting you to

Drive up to the speed limit if road, weather and traffic conditions permit or at a realistic speed if not
Approach hazards at a safe controlled speed without being over cautious or interfering with the progress of other traffic
Emerge from junctions without stopping at give way lines if it is safe to do so or emerge at the first safe opportunity to proceed.
Driving faults recorded
20 Progress

Appropriate speed:

Crawls along at slow speeds on clear roads.
Makes no attempt to achieve maximum speeds for the road when safe to do so.
Reduces speed excessively when the conditions do not merit doing so.
Makes slow progress through the gears in normal driving.
Undue hesitancy:

I have seen the various views on Melrose Way, there are two sides however ie the above from the Highway Code on passing a driving test. I travel on this road & am frustrated by drivers who drive at 30mph on a 60mph road, if they want to stick to what they feel comfortable with then they should avoid the bypass & stick to the 30mph roads, on the other hand there is an element of local drivers who think they own the road, I live in Wilmslow & if I had a £1 for every time they barge past even though they should give way, I would be very rich. I travel down the A34 bypass & they stick to the outside lane even though they are moving forward, I thought this was now outlawed! When this happens I slow down just to piss them off....I have the right to slow down when taking a right turn on the roundabout into Wilmslow!
Dave Cash
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 2:31 am
Let us wait for the Police Accident Report etc before speculating. Either driver could be at fault or suffered a medical Emergency.
Double white lines, average speed cameras are pointless, motorists ignore them every day. Many country lanes are NSL (60 - 70mph).
Most motorists are equipped with 2 Mk1 eyeballs and a lump of grey matter between the ears. Use them, or stop driving.
Richard Bullock
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 8:56 am
John: There should be no guesswork involved in knowing the speed limit on any road. Every driver should know the national speed limit for the vehicle they are driving - the limit that applies when the de-restricted sign appears. If you are driving a car it's 60mph on a single carriageway (like the Alderley bypass), it's 70mph on a dual carriageway with a central barrier (like the Wilmslow bypass), and 70mph on a motorway. Take 10mph off all of those if you are towing.

Different limits apply if you are driving a van, coach or truck.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 3:32 pm
The design, layout, cambers etc. of the whole by pass from Stanley Green to the end on the A34 is poor. The cost cutting resulting in a single carriage way road was ill considered. The plague of motorists who consider that driving well below the speed limit, wandering from side to side (some are using their phones), and continually dabbing their brakes at every slight bend is responsible driving seems to be ever growing. However as a few respondents have noted accidents are rare - please call them collisions which indicate that someone was at fault.
Oliver Romain
Friday 10th November 2017 at 6:20 am
Speed limits are just that. They are limits not targets. Sensible people plan their journeys so they can travel safely without endangering themselves or other road users by getting frustrated. If you are frustrated by slower drivers it’s nobody’s fault but your own. Plan your journeys, own your emotions and don’t blame others for your own mistakes. Overtaking on this stretch of road is utterly pointless unless you count massaging your own ego as a valid reason to risk life.
Unless there is street lighting where the limit is automatically 30, unless signs indicate otherwise, the single carriage way is 60 mph. It’s in the Highway Code.
Michael Maddox
Friday 10th November 2017 at 7:21 am
As a regular user of the Bypass, I have had numerous near misses where inconsiderate Drivers overtake in a dangerous manner, particularly in the various blind spots along the Bypass.
If the Bypass can't be converted to dual Carriageway, at a minimum a Central Barrier needs to be installed along with reducing the spped limit to no more than 50mph. Preferably, with numerous WORKING speed Camera's along the route.
Vince Chadwick
Friday 10th November 2017 at 9:17 am
Anne Greenhalgh's post is spot on. If conditions permit, one should drive at the speed limit, not above it, and not significantly below it. Driving examiners call this 'making progress', and on a test you will be expected to do it. Not doing it is selfish, and is to the inconvenience of everyone behind you.

After decades of car driving I took the Motorcycle riding test in early middle age after a great deal of excellent training (you won't survive long on a motorcycle if you are less than fully competent so the training is to a very high standard as is the test). The trainers, and the examiner, will expect that you ride TO the speed limit where conditions allow. Not to do so WILL result in a 'fail'. And rightly so.
Friday 10th November 2017 at 10:33 am
Vince, - re driving to the speed limit. If this is the case then someone should take a good hard look at the speed limits on Lees Lane, Bonis Hall Lane and lots of other country lanes around here.
Claire MacLeod
Sunday 12th November 2017 at 10:08 pm
Good Evening, Mike Hough

I just read your post. It shocked me. So I did a little Google search on you and found this article http://bit.ly/1UcmBqk.

I presume this is about you and the picture is of your car? Forgive me for stereo-typing, but your car looks as if it's built for speed. I live in Alderley Edge, on the North side of the village, and when I walk my dogs in the fields, particularly at the weekends, the sound from the bypass make me think I may be walking near Le Mans, or Silverstone.

You say in your post that you avoid the Alderley Edge by-pass (which is just over 3 miles long) because drivers drive too slow for your liking, and chose to drive into Alderley Edge and take 'the old route' down Riley's lane (which is significantly longer than 3 miles to Chelford). Is this so you can drive faster, rather than get to your destination quicker?

I haven't read the comment you refer to in your post from a 'reverend', but I suspect what he meant was people who overtake due to impatience, putting not only their own lives, but other road users at risk, are 'dangerous and bad'. I'm sure all of the tragic fatalities on the by-pass to date have been as a result of some ignorant driver's impatience and poor judgement. Indeed, it is a crazy world.