Councillors propose to reduce speed limit on Alderley Edge bypass

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Following the recent fatal accident on the Alderley Edge Bypass local councillors are proposing a reduction of the speed limit on this stretch of road.

Speaking at the Parish Council meeting on Monday, 13th November, Councillor Craig Browne said "I first discussed this issue with Cheshire East Highways over 12 months ago but in the light of the most recent fatalities I have decided to revisit this and have held discussions with representatives from both the police and Cheshire East Highways as well as neighbouring ward councillors. Many people may not be aware but the bypass actually goes through three different Cheshire East wards - obviously Alderley Edge is one, the others being Wilmslow West & Chorley and Chelford, Nether Alderley comes under Chelford."

"The other ward councillors, I am pleased to say, have expressed their support for a speed limit reduction to 50mph and the chief highways officer has indicated that this is both reasonable and feasible. However, we have all been asked to bring this proposal back to our prospective parish councils for further discussion and feedback."

Having read the comments on alderleyedge.com, Verity Williams attended the meeting to comment on the proposals.

She said "It worries that the immediate response is always to lower speeds because I think when you talk about always reducing driving to the lowest common denominator you're not necessarily making roads safer. What I've noticed in the roads around here, especially the roads where there are national speed limits, is there are very few speed limits signs."

Verity continued "I wonder because people don't realise it's the national speed limit they frequently drive between 30mph and 40mph on these stretches of road which will inevitably encourage drivers to do dangerous overtakes and they're often winding country roads with few places for safe overtakes. So what I would wonder maybe a better initial response is to actually to put speed limit signs up and around so people can see what the speed is so then people may potentially drive at the speed that the road is, which discourages people to need to do overtakes because people are driving at the speed they are expected to drive at.

"The single lane bypass doesn't necessarily need to be 50mph it just needs people to do the speed that its set to be and then people are less likely to do dangerous overtakes as they frustrated by people not maintaining the correct speed."

Councillor Rachael Grantham responded "Whilst I support making the speed limit lower on that particular stretch I think signage is very important."

Councillors also discussed the possibility of installing awareness signs displaying how many serious and fatal accidents have occurred on this stretch of road, highlighting the fact that it is a single carriageway and introducing solid white lines in the middle of the road to indicate no overtaking - ideas which Councillor Browne will feedback to Cheshire East Highways.

Councillor Browne confirmed that the investigation into the causes of the recent accident is still ongoing.

Verity Williams responded "Police are trained to look into this and determine what are the safe conditions of a road. Obviously when there is a death people want to show their empathy and show that they don't want it to happen again but equally I do feel it does need to be responded to based on a factual situation. Also it's a very long stretch of road and if you are stuck behind someone who is not doing the speed limit and you've got solid white lines then you are just kind of penalising other drivers.

"An expert for Cheshire East should be looking into it rather, than emotional responses, determining what the reaction is."

She added "It would be interesting to see what the average speed on the bypass is currently because I was on it this morning and it certainly wasn't 60mph, it was between 40 and 50mph so again it goes back to actually accessing what the cause of the accidents are and looking at the current behaviour on the bypass to see what would be something that would make it safer. My experience of the bypass is that you very rarely travel at 60mph so if the cars are already doing 50mph on average and there are still accidents what is reducing the speed limit to 50mph actually going to achieve?"

Councillor Browne responded "Can I give you some assurance that any action that is taken will be based on a thorough assessment, firstly on the course of this accident, but also whilst I've said the three ward councillors are broadly supportive of introducing some change, ultimately that will be based on not three lay people but the professional work carried out by both highways officers who are qualified and of course the police as well."

What do you think about lowering the speed limit on the Alderley Edge bypass to 50mph? Are there any other changes you would like to see happen on this stretch of road? Share your views via the comment box below.

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Alderley Edge Bypass
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Comments

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

Christian Hurstfield
Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 4:02 pm
Not always overtaking that will cause an accident here. I've noticed many cars flooring it as soon as they get off the roundabout, only takes a slight lapse in concentration and they will be in the opposite lane, even if only slightly, the lanes do not provide much margin for error.

Consideration needs to be applied to the 'combined speed effect' of accidents (50+50 = 100mph head-on), which central barriers work to contain.

Some of the money paid by developers to plant all the extra housing surrounding these areas should be put towards building a central barrier to protect their future residents.
John Clegg
Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 4:29 pm
Brilliant. So reduce the speed limit.
To 50?
All the speed merchants will take that as a prompt to carry on as usual, won't they?
Howard Piltz
Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 5:01 pm
This will make matters worse. The speed-merchants will get more frustrated so there'll be more overtaking. 1) double white lines where needed. Dual the whole road that was called for at the planning stage.
Peter Evans
Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 5:35 pm
50mph seems to me to be a bit of a random suggestion to appease the "we must do something" brigade. If the analysis does show as Verity Williams suggests that too many people are driving well below the speed limit then increased signage may be the simple and sufficient answer, if people really are confused. Speed differentials are a bigger issue than actual speed (within reason), and the bypass is a wide road, there is no obvious logic for a forced suboptimal speed limit.

Personally, I think the idea of a central barrier or turning this into a dual carriage way are non-starters. Hugely costly with minimal benefit. Maybe my rather silly comment in a previous thread about introducing guides with big flags walking in front of all cars on the bypass should be thrown into the mix?
David Smith
Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 6:42 pm
This is a narrow two-lane road and as such should be 30mph. Most vehicles will then be travelling at 40mph as few motorists obey speed limits - and that includes YOU! At 40mph if you hit a truck head-on your car will be a write-off and you will end up in hospital - at least.
30mph is sensible.
Richard Slater
Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 8:49 pm
40mph is a sensible speed for the road.

But expect CEC will want to fill in either side with houses before long!
Bob Bracegirdle
Thursday 16th November 2017 at 12:32 am
It’s a 50mph Road and always was. And some do 70-80mph on it. Howard’s right that it should have been dual carriageway in the first place.
Oliver Romain
Thursday 16th November 2017 at 7:14 pm
Double white lines are all that is needed. It’s not slower drivers who are the problem it’s people overtaking. Make it illegal and most will think twice. Speed limit is a red herring. 60 is perfectly safe for most of this well build clear road.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 16th November 2017 at 7:56 pm
The other week I followed a big tractor with a silage trailer onto the by-pass at the Whitehall Bridge roundabout. It was one of those "fast tractors" which can do all of 35 miles per hour. If there had been double white lines how long do you think it would have taken to get to Monks Heath?
I'm fairly sure that he was driving all that way because I came upon another similar tractor and trailer just before Astra-Zeneca.

Average speed cameras would work but only if they photograph the rear of the vehicles- so many of the "super-car" maniacs are running around without front number plates these days.
Oliver Romain
Friday 17th November 2017 at 1:15 am
@pete Would delay journey by about a minute if you didn’t overtake, assuming that you do not usually reach top speed due to traffic build up and queueing.
Puts it into perspective. One minute of your time occasionally or more risky overtaking and more injuries and deaths?
I think double white lines would also reinforce the fact that drivers are not on a dual carriageway.
All tractors can do these speeds they usually have 18 gears and literally have Rabbit and Snail secondary gear boxes.
Richard Bullock
Friday 17th November 2017 at 9:28 am
Christine: The closing speed of two cars travelling at 50 mph in opposite directions colliding head-on is 100 mph, but the impact force in such a collision is identical to a single car hitting a concrete wall only at 50 mph, not 100 as you might think at first. It's counter-intuitive but correct from a physics point of view - as long as the cars are of a similar mass.

A collision like this would still likely be a severe impact - but it's a red herring to consider the closing speed. You're just as in-danger from concrete bridge abutments or road-side trees or other street furniture - unless that is, it's a collision between an HGV and car. That would be much worse for the car driver than hitting a static solid object.
Jerry Dixon
Friday 17th November 2017 at 1:34 pm
Reading some of the comments here I'm expecting someone to suggest a person walk in front of every car with a red flag!
This should be a straightforward issue for road safety experts to resolve. The one factor they might struggle with is if low sun proved to be the reason for the accident/s.
Peter Evans
Friday 17th November 2017 at 8:28 pm
Jerry - I already did suggest that!!
Oliver Romain
Saturday 18th November 2017 at 8:18 am
Tee hee, let’s tease people coming up with suggestions on road safety with ridiculous and polarised notions that they want to go back to red flags. Oh wait several people have died on this road... suddenly not so funny is it?
Stewart Dyer
Saturday 18th November 2017 at 9:15 am
Surely the only argument for a reduction in the speed limit would be to eliminate or reduce accidents caused by drivers travelling at, or lower than the current limit, but above the proposed lower limit, AND who would adhere to the new lower limit. So probably absolutely none then.
Combined with the added likelihood of people overtaking, because 50 is far too slow when the road is quiet, and the risk of an accident would probably increase significantly.
Peter Evans
Saturday 18th November 2017 at 11:49 am
Oliver - the fact that any people are killed or injured on any road is tragic and heartbreaking. But let's not get consumed making irrational decisions based purely on emotion. My point was that if you take the emotional argument to its ultimate conclusion we would end up not being allowed to drive at all, or at best with a man with a red flag. Its all about making sensible balanced decisions based on logic and not emotion or political expediency - and too many of the comments in this thread are, in my opinion, based on one of these two.
Oliver Romain
Monday 20th November 2017 at 3:11 pm
Peter - again you say it’s about balance but you seem to taking it to extremes arguing that those who are suggesting safety measures are in some way showing an ‘emotional’ response and will end up banning cars. Rather than dismissing valid responses as ‘emotional’ or ‘irrational’ it’s better to consider them as part of a balanced debate.
Nobody is arguing that those who consider slower traffic to be the problem therefore ultimately want everyone to drive at a hundred miles an hour and cause more death and injuries. I don’t understand where the red flag ‘joke’ fits into the category of rational or unemotional.
Double white lines with no speed restriction changes would make the road safer and would be far less likely to adversely impact on overall travel times than say the road being closed
three or four times a year due to a collision.

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