Light at the end of the tunnel


As many motorists will have noticed the street lights on a stretch of the A538, heading towards Wilmslow, have not been working for some time.

We understand that most of the new LED street lights on Altrincham Road have been off since the end of summer, from the roundabout just after the second runway tunnel up to the next roundabout.

One local resident contacted saying it "All seems very odd after the concerns from three years ago" when the street lights along the A538, heading towards the airport tunnels, were switched off as part of the council's street lighting carbon reduction scheme - in an effort to slash carbon emissions, cut down on light pollution and save money.

However, the Council reviewed their decision and turned the street lighting back on after sports clubs and local residents raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Having contacted the Council about the situation we can now confirm that it will be rectified in the next couple of weeks and the lights will be back on.

A spokesman for Cheshire East Council, said: "The power supply to the street lights connecting two roundabouts on Altrincham Road in Wilmslow was recently damaged by a collision."

"We are working to repair this stretch of the A538 and expect this work to be completed within a fortnight.

"We thank the public for their patience and will have the new LED lights functioning normally as soon as possible."

Altrincham Road


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

John Gillespie
Friday 28th October 2016 at 8:25 pm
What about the "lights" at the motorway end of the in traffic lights, causing long delays heading to the M56! No doubt other commuters are having 15 minutes added to their morning commute. Anyone got any ideas what is going on? Manchester City Council website just advises "road works and temporary lights" until end Sept 2017.
Pete Taylor
Friday 28th October 2016 at 10:24 pm
Fortunately I no longer suffer this stretch of road every morning but.. the strange one lane into two, into one again, within a space of 50 yards, at these temporary lights seems absolutely daft; given the number of black 4x4 drivers out-competing each other on this route.
Why has the planned dual-carriageway road from the M56, thro' the tunnels to the "Valley Lodge" roundabout never been implemented? The wide cutting was made when the first tunnel was built.
Kelly Moses
Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 8:55 pm
The stretch of road from the roundabout at the Airport Inn hotel, up the hill towards the Honey Bee pub is quite dangerous in the pitch dark so restoring the lighting on this section, plus further along past Waters, will be a great relief to many motorists and cyclists I'm sure.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 2nd November 2016 at 12:56 pm
Contrary to what Pete Taylor asks above, I suspect that congestion through the airport tunnels toward the motorway junction could be eased by reducing that length of road to a single carriageway.

Whilst the temporary lights at the DHL / Amazon interchange are only there to get people used to the mayhem that's yet to come, the longstanding problem has been caused by arrogant and ignorant drivers overtaking through the tunnels so that they can "merge" at the front of the queue rather than (more courteously) at the back of it.

The queue develops due to the kerfuffle as the two lanes become one where the - "oh no you're not" / "oh yes I am" argument develops - often with a little straw-bonneted cherub sitting angelically in the back whilst mummy lets rip a very colourful diatribe against those who understand "rights of way" better than she does.

Those of us who have used the road for years will remember the good old days when the Local Authority had sufficient funds to clean and paint the tunnels - the work used to involve closing one carriageway whilst work was carried out on the other. The traffic moved through beautifully, without skipping a beat!
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 2nd November 2016 at 2:43 pm
The "temporary lights" have now produced tailbacks all the way into Wilmslow of an evening. This is an object lesson on how incompetent the highways authority really is. Traffic management seems to be totally beyond them.
The traffic at the new, huge industrial site (built on a farm and allowed by GMC on land conned out of the old Cheshire Council) could easily have been dealt with by widening the access road to the westbound side of the M56 and accessing the site from there. To easy I suspect.
Vince Chadwick
Saturday 5th November 2016 at 4:29 pm
Alan Brough, of merging queues of traffic the Highway Code says both lanes should be fully utilised up to the point where they merge into one lane. At that point traffic should join alternately from each lane into the single lane.

This is not what I observed some years ago when tailbacks though the tunnel (there was only one then) resulted in some traffic merging early, leaving the other (outside) lane empty for overtakers to zoom past the queue to the front where the queuers would try to prevent them 'pushing in'. Some lorries even inched along in the outside lane at the same speed as the inside 'queuing' lane preventing any traffic from using that lane (until the lorry itself merged, of course). This is deliberate obstruction and as such is an offence.

I think the Highway Code's advice is far more sensible than that petulant and childish behavior I observed.
Alan Brough
Saturday 5th November 2016 at 11:34 pm

Rule 288 of the Highway code states "Do not switch lanes to overtake queuing traffic"

But we don't really need the Highway Code to tell us that it's wrong do we? If you're stood in a queue at the Sainsburys check-out and someone just pushes past you to get to the front
I'm guessing that you'd have a word.
Vince Chadwick
Sunday 6th November 2016 at 8:56 pm
Indeed I would 'have a word' in your supermarket scenario, but that isn't the scenario we are considering.

The equivalent scenario is two parallel queues at Sainsburys for one check out till, and the queues merging equally and alternately on reaching the till.

That's what the highway code advises when two traffic queues merge when a lane is closed or two lanes become one.

I think it's sensible and civilised advice. Switching lanes will give no advantage (both lanes are full up to the point of merging). And there's no pushing in either as both queues can merge alternately at the point of reduction to one lane.

Merging before the two lanes become one leaves less traffic in the outer lane, and generates opportunities for overtakers to pass the standing traffic and push in at the front which understandably raises the blood pressure of those who have been overtaken.

I take it that is why the Highway Code does not advise early merging, but does advise alternate merging at the point of lane closure or singling.
Alan Brough
Monday 7th November 2016 at 8:37 am
I'm guessing that you're unfamiliar with the situation most mornings in the airport tunnels Vince.

The problem is one of drivers pulling out to overtake the line of vehicles politely queuing in the inside lane - in other words "queue jumping."
Rob Sawyer
Monday 7th November 2016 at 1:30 pm
There are no less than 2 gaps in the physical provision of street-light posts along this stretch of A538. From near the Waters roundabout to near the Honey Bee pub is the first. Then there is the stretch down the hill to the hotel (former Valley Lodge). The latter stretch is, in particular, very dark at night due to tree cover and the absence of lighting. There is a cycle/walking path running to the side of the road but the absence of light (and spread of vegetation over the previous 3-metre width) makes it dangerous to use after dusk. There was previously provision of street lights but they appear to have been removed - ostensibly on energy-saving grounds.

It would be good if CEC could provide clarification as to whether the lamp posts will be reinstated. The new LED lights fitted are far more efficient than the previous generation of lights. For me, therefore, the safety arguments for having lighting surpass any energy-saving rationale for non-provision.
Stuart Redgard
Monday 7th November 2016 at 10:29 pm
I can categorically confirm that at least three (and possibly more) street light columns have been removed on the stretch between the Honey Bee and Waters Roundabout. I know this because i have reported these lights out previously and them saw the heads being changed to LED heads in 2015/2016 (cannot remember exactly when. the columns are now not there! I also suspect that other columns have also been removed between the Honey Bee and Runway tunnels but cannot categorically confirm this without a more detailed inspection.
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 8th November 2016 at 11:58 am
Alan, that 'overtaking the queue and pushing in' is the situation I described in my first post, and my second (did you read them?) so I AM familiar with it.

If both lanes were in full use up to the point of merge (as the Highway Code advises and as I have repeated here several times) then 'queue jumping' would not be an option as the queues would fully occupy both the inside and the outside lanes, and both would proceed in parallel at the same speed until they alternately merge at the point of road narrowing.

No need for any raising of blood pressure.

That is precisely why the Highway Code's advice makes sense.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 8th November 2016 at 9:37 pm

The two airport tunnels have a joint length of approx. half a mile.

There are rarely two half miles lanes of traffic converging on the point at which the two lanes become one.

What actually happens is that traffic starts to queue in the inside lane and other drivers pull out of that lane to overtake and "merge" at the front of the queue - in direct contravention of what the Highway Code sensibly advises.

Let's not waste any more time on this. I do not overtake standing traffic to get to the front, you (on the other hand) clearly do.
Vince Chadwick
Wednesday 9th November 2016 at 4:12 pm
Alan Brough, your ridiculously presumptuous accusations are of course baseless (being contrary to what I have repeatedly posted here). It's revealing that you made them, however, and that revelation does you no credit. I'll remain polite and say no more.

I conclude you are simply arguing for the sake of it.

For you, there's an excellent Monty Python sketch I can recommend.....

Oh, and the Highway Code as well, of course. Buy a copy.