Batchworth Bridge response from HCC

A message from Reena Ranger, HCC Councillor, in response to our post:

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) actively endeavour to reduce the number and severity of Personal Injury Collisions on our roads through the work of their highway safety engineering specialists. However, road safety involves a multi-agency approach, with engineering being only one part. This is why they also work with road safety partners to educate and inform road users about what they can do to keep themselves and others safe on our roads.

We would of course like to address all road safety issues on our roads. However, because HCC do not have unlimited core funding, resources must be directed to those areas where work has the greatest potential to reduce the number and severity of collisions that occur.

There have been 8 accidents reported at this location between October 2018 and Sept 2023 (more recent date is being asked for and takes time to obtain). There have been no deaths at this location and the accidents mentioned all did not take place on the Bridge but in its vicinity – there is a key to indicate severity of accident on the attachment.

This location doesn’t meet the intervention levels to trigger core casualty reduction investigation. Nor does this location attract funding from core funding pots for intervention works.

Any changes to the beacons or lighting here would need to be funded from non core funding pots.

With regards to the currently lighting. The lighting met standards at the time of installation. Some improvements can be achieved beyond this.

There was a design for lighting upgrade plus civils work (railings/tactile etc and this has been estimated with design, engineering works, traffic management etc. Any potential for push button signals would need to be explored to see if it would be possible – but this is expected to add another £40k to the estimate, if the bridge could accommodate underground apparatus – exploration of which will be needed and associated costs would need to be met.

The distance between the road surface and the actual bridge structure is not very deep and there was question as to whether there would be enough depth to accommodate suitable foundations that would be required with taller posts. Obviously, the taller and thicker the post, the deeper the foundations would need to be to provide stability and stop them falling over in high wind etc. Kind of like the post’s ‘roots’.

I had funded ‘trial holes’ which showed there being only 150mm (6.0”) depth below the posts in the centre island. This is no-where close enough to provide posts taller than what is already there. You will see on site that these posts in the centre have bolt-down fixings. Depths at either side of the road are better and indicated some improvements can be made with better lighting provided, and a design was drawn up and costed. In order to fully improve the crossing with better lighting, guardrail and tactile paving the cost was circa £60k. A revised estimate for delivery in 24/25 would be: c.£63k.

Currently, there are pedestrian crossing signs on the approaches to the zebra crossing, and these are illuminated. There area also Belisha beacons in place on the crossing itself.

Residents have asked about the railings being removed. The railings are there to deter people crossing at various points of the bridge. The Centre railing is positioned quite far back and people waiting at the kerb can be clearly seen either in front of the railing or through it.

I can fund speed limit road markings on the road ONLY at the changes to the limit. In this case, on Riverside Drive. The other approach would allow markings at Moor Lane and London Road where limit changes from 40mph, and shown by the black blobs on the map below. But these locations are far from the bridge itself, so this doesn’t not appear to serve the purpose they are intending to serve.

Black blobs show where speed limit changes

As per the Highway Code that:

You MUST NOT exceed the maximum speed limits for the road and for your vehicle (see the speed limits table). A speed limit of 30 mph (48 km/h), or 20mph (32km/h) in Wales, generally applies to all roads with street lights (excluding motorways) unless signs show otherwise.

30 mph repeater signs are not permitted on restricted roads; these are roads where there are street lights not more than 200 yards apart

Whilst I note the request for the County Council to take action, perhaps I should start by explaining that one of the County Council’s Key Priorities is to reduce the number of people who are either killed, or injured on our Road Network each year, and a significant budget exists towards such work, which is known as our Safety Engineering Program.

Each year a hazardous sites report is produced which highlights where there have been large frequencies of collisions for all roads within the county, from this information, Collision investigations are undertaken on a worst first basis. Remedial measures are then promoted which are seen to be the most appropriate way to treat the collision trends identified at the particular location. This can range from full scale traffic calming schemes (i.e. constructing speed humps etc.), to smaller scale works such as improving signage and road markings.

When HCC review collisions on the highway they know that there are three potential factors (Human Behaviour/ Vehicle/ Highway) and they always assess these when determining if remedial measures are appropriate and what form they could take.

Having checked the history for this location, this shows that this site would not qualify for consideration for Works under HCCs Safety Engineering Program. Therefore at the present time I am afraid that the County Council does not have any funds available within its Core Budgets to undertake any works, on the basis that this site does not meet the criteria for further investigations or potential funding.

As you are aware, I have been in touch with Batchworth Community Council who have agreed to fund half the works, this leave the other half to find. Unless BCC are willing to fund the entire project as one of local request, I am left looking at alternative funding pots, but this will take time and will depend on a successful application.

Experience shows it is local people who know the roads who zip through them. We ask all those in the area to be mindful of their speeds at all times.

I hope this helps

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