Monday, 22nd December 2014

Road refuge is to be ripped out

A controversial pedestrian refuge is to be ripped out from a road in the centre of Shrewsbury – less than two years after it was put in place.

The crossing at the Roushill junction on Smithfield Road, was built in September 2010 as part of a £1.8 million traffic project.

But it has been criticised heavily by motorists and councillors who claim it causes traffic chaos and tailbacks.

And now following pressure from town councillors, officials at Shropshire Council have decided to remove it before this year’s Flower Show in August.

Council bosses said removing the refuge would ease the flow of traffic on Smithfield Road.

In a letter to councillors, Tim Sneddon, environmental maintenance service manager at Shropshire Council, said: “Works have been done looking at traffic flows and congestion and whilst there are advantages of a refuge there, it is felt that it would be better to remove it to ease flow on the road.

“We will be consulting with Shrewsbury Town Council and other stakeholders about the exact detail, but it is hoped to get the necessary works done before the Flower Show, provided we can do that without clashing with utility or other highway works.”

The refuge is likely to be removed through single carriageway closures over two to three evenings.

Leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, Peter Nutting, who has led a long campaign against the refuge said its removal was a victory for common sense.

“This refuge has caused serious traffic issues for the residents of Copthorne. It means the traffic can’t merge which causes a backlog at the Welsh Bridge,” he said.

“Removing it will make life much easier for people who live and work in Copthorne.

“It has been hard work to achieve this and it has been a battle against officers at times but I am glad that common sense has prevailed.”

The refuge was installed as part of a £1.8 million project to improve cycle and walking routes between the town centre and the north west of Shrewsbury.

The work was paid for through grants from the Department of Transport.

Mr Nutting said: “It is hard to say where the money was spent. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where it came from, it is a lot of public money.”

Shropshire Council was unavailable for comment at the time the Chronicle went to press.