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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 1st November 2011

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Economic Regeneration

 

Traffic Issues A48 St. Nicholas to Bonvilston

 

Purpose of the Report

1.      To advise Members of the results of investigations into traffic issues on the A48 between St. Nicholas and Bonvilston following a request from Councillor Bird.

2.      To identify any remedial measures, if appropriate.

Recommendation

1.             That Members note the contents of the report.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             For information.  

Background

2.             A request was made on 20th May 2011 by Councillor Bird for the following to be considered by the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment):

"Subject: Speed of traffic on A48 between St. Nicholas and Bonvilston.  Also accident rates and what measures can be put in place to reduce both.

Reason for the request:  Recent accidents causing fatalities."

This request was received by Highways and Engineering on 2nd August 2011.

3.             The A48 is a strategic route that runs through the Vale of Glamorgan between Cardiff in the east and Bridgend in the west.  This route was previously a Trunk Road but lost this classification following the construction of the M4 motorway through the area.

4.             In 2006, Welsh Government (WG) proposed that the route Culverhouse Cross - St. Nicholas - Sycamore Cross - Waycock Cross - Port Road - Cardiff Airport should be reclassified as a Trunk Road.  This proposal resulted in a Public Inquiry where the Inspector ruled that the proposed Trunking Order should not be made. 

5.             The speed limit on the A48 is generally the National Speed Limit which, for this class of road, is 60 mph for single carriageway and 70 mph for dual carriageway sections unless otherwise indicated.

6.             The National Speed Limit is reduced at certain locations on the route as follows:

·               40 mph from Culverhouse Cross to the Tumble;

·               30 mph through St. Nicholas;

·               40 mph through Bonvilston;

·               50 mph through Pentre Meyrick.

These limits have been set in accordance with current directives and advice notes and reflect the changing environment through which the route passes. 

7.             The Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership (previously the Safety Camera Partnership) currently operate their mobile camera at a site just to the west of the Sycamore Cross junction.  This location is indicated on the plan attached to this report at Appendix 'A'.  (Note: a colour plan will be provided at Committee for reference). Certain complex criteria have to be met for a site to be designated as a camera site including current speed/accident data, historic speed/accident data, trend data and site/route lengths.  These criteria are presented in Appendix 'D' to this report.

8.             From 2007/08 to 2010/11 WG had provided grant funding to the Council in the form of a Principal Road Grant for investigations and route selection options to be progressed for highway safety improvements on Five Mile Lane.  Although this funding has now ceased, proposals to improve the Sycamore Cross Junction had been identified.

9.             The Council's mobile Vehicle Activated Driver Feedback signs have been utilised on both approaches to Bonvilston.  These signs tend to have more of an impact in the short term, thus they are continuously rotated between various sites where excessive speed is of concern.  Having been at Bonvilston for a number of months the signs were relocated in July 2011 to other sites within the Vale.  

10.        The Police compile Accident Reports whenever collisions result in personal injury.  Such injury incidents are recorded as being slight, serious or fatal.  This information is made available to the Council on a quarterly basis. 

Relevant Issues and Options

11.        The Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership (WRCRP) has speed data from their mobile site at Bonvilston which was collected in July 2010.  This indicates that average speeds of 42 mph were recorded with the 85th percentile being 47 mph.  71% of vehicles were found to be exceeding the speed limit and 3% of vehicles were exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph or more.

12.        The Council has speed data at St. Nicholas at site No.3 as shown on the plan at Appendix 'A' which indicates the following:

·               Westbound - Average Speed = 28 mph, 85th Percentile = 33 mph

·               Eastbound - Average Speed = 30 mph, 85th Percentile = 34 mph.

13.        The Council has also commissioned further speed data surveys at sites No.1 and No.2 as shown on the plan at Appendix 'A'.  Members will be advised of the results of these surveys at the meeting.

14.        Accident data has been analysed for the same section of highway.  The results of this analysis are attached at Appendix 'B' to this report with a plan indicating the locations of the personal injury collisions attached at Appendix 'C'. (Note: a large scale plan will be provided at Committee for reference).  The results indicate that there have been 19 personal injury collisions in the last 5 years including 1 fatal, 5 serious and 13 slight.  It should be noted that 10 of these personal injury collisions have occurred at Sycamore Cross junction.

15.        From the foregoing information the following is proposed:

St. Nicholas

Speed data through St. Nicholas does not indicate that there is a significant problem with both average and 85th percentile speeds below the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) prosecution levels.  No further action proposed.

Cottrell Park

There is an accident cluster at this location and further analysis of speeds/accidents will be undertaken with a view to possibly reducing the speed limit if appropriate.  However, historical data and previous investigations indicated that free-flow speeds are too high to introduce a reduced speed limit, which can be enforced.

Sycamore Cross

This location was identified in the Five Mile Lane Highway Improvement study as requiring highway improvement works.  Capital funds will be sought to undertake feasibility studies, detailed design and construction of a new junction.

Bonvilston

Vehicle speeds are still of concern at this location and the WRCRP camera will still operate at this location. Following further investigations, discussions will be progressed with a view to identifying an additional camera site, possibly to the west of the settlement.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

16.        A bid has been submitted for Council Capital funds to progress with feasibility studies for a new junction at Sycamore Cross.  Funds for detailed design and construction will be sought from Council budgets, the South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) or WG as appropriate to progress the scheme in the future.

17.        The speed and accident data analysis and identification of future actions has been undertaken by the Council's Traffic Management team (Highways and Engineering).

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.        The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 empowers highway authorities to make Traffic Orders to regulate traffic and improve the amenities of an area.  The Local Authorities’ Traffic Order (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 directs Order making Authorities over the manner in which consultations, publications and objections to such orders are made.

19.        The Council as Highway Authority has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the highway user and may be found to be negligent if it does not meet its statutory obligations under the Highways Act 1980 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

20.        There are no Human Rights Implications.

Crime and Disorder Implications

21.        Improvements to highway safety help to reduce the potential for incidents of disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

22.        Improvements to highway safety benefit all sectors of the community.

23.        Any signage associated with future works in this location will comply with the requirements of the Council's Welsh Language Scheme.

Corporate/Service Objectives

24.        To maintain and develop a safe and effective highway.

Policy Framework and Budget

25.        This is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26.        This report was as a result of a request from the local Member.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

27.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

28.        None.

Contact Officer

Paul Gay - Group Engineer (Highway Projects and Traffic Management)

Tel. No. 02920 673086

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager Legal Services

Accountant, Building and Visible Services

Responsible Officer

Rob Quick, Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration

 

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