5:10pm Friday 24th January 2014
By Ruth Halkon
Officials have been told to do all they can to reduce the congestion caused by major roadworks at an Elstree crossroads.
Hertfordshire County Councillor Terry Douris, who is responsible for highways, has told council officers to take “immediate action” to reduce the impact of roadworks at the Barnet Lane and Watford Road crossroads in Elstree.
Traffic is being controlled by temporary traffic lights and Elstree has been completely gridlocked, with drivers complaining of taking over an hour to do a five minute journey.
Graham Philips, who owns the Manor Pharmacy in High Street, said the traffic jams had meant ill people had been unable to get to his pharmacy and deliveries of drugs could not get through.
He said: “We have been named by the NHS as an essential pharmacy and a number of our customers are elderly and vulnerable people who are fairly isolated.
“Because of these traffic jams, life saving drugs cannot get through to the pharmacy. At the minimum it is very inconvenient, at most it could have serious consequences. This cannot be allowed to go on for six months.”
Cllr Douris said: “Please be assured that I take this situation extremely seriously and I am truly sorry for the inconvenience and distress which it has caused.
“A project as complex as this is always going to create an interruption on traffic flow while the works are carried out.
“As you may be aware the works, which have been discussed and consulted upon extensively, are designed to give greater capacity at this busy junction and improve the traffic flow once completed.”
Cllr Douris explained part of the work involved BT demolishing and rebuilding two large underground chambers next to the main crossing, which must be carried out before road remodelling can start.
This is due to take until March, and the road would then be remodelled to provide extra turning lanes and additional pedestrian crossing.
Cllr Douris said manual control of the traffic lights had been introduced, which appeared to have reduced congestion.
He added that during evenings and weekends as much of the carriageway as was safe would be opened to enable cars to pass through more easily.
The council is also in talks with BT and Virgin Media, which is planning to be involved later on, about speeding up the work.
Cllr Douris said: “We will keep other road works in the area under review to ensure that any clashes are kept to the minimum.
“I have made it clear I do not want to see any other road closures or works which will have a detrimental effect on traffic flow.
“I hope this will demonstrate how seriously I take this situation.
"It is unfortunate such an important and ultimately beneficial project is so complex and disruptive, but please be assured that we will do everything that we can to reduce the inconvenience.”
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