RESIDENTS and councillors in a roadwork-hit town have said ‘enough is enough’, as the latest tranche of temporary traffic lights in addition to a long-overdue reopening of a closed through-road has led to mayhem on the roads.
The town of Bodmin has been branded as a ‘temporary traffic light festival’ by one resident, with roadworks on Westheath Avenue and accompanying four-way traffic lights set to continue to December exacerbating existing road mayhem due to the closure of the adjacent Greenvalley Road.
It has led to significant delays for people working and living in the town, with residents reporting a three-minute journey to Bodmin Hospital taking in excess of 15 minutes, and staff at the hospital having to leave significantly earlier to get to work on time.
The latest roadworks are due to Section 278 works where Westheath Avenue meets Laninival Hill, with the works aimed at creating an access point for the new development and the extension of the 30 miles per hour speed limit to further down the road.
Cllr Andy Coppin, former mayor, and former Chairman of Bodmin Town Council’s planning committee said: “Bodmin Town Council was against the new junction onto the main road due to safety reasons and objected in the strongest terms to the housing development going ahead with that access, but Cornwall Council approved it. Access could have been from Westheath Road but this option was not taken up.”
This latest group of roadworks comes on the back of the ongoing closure on Greenvalley Road, which was built as a replacement for the adjacent Boundary Road.
The previous road was placed with a traffic prohibition order after the construction of Greenvalley Road, however, the replacement road has not been adopted by the council due to defective construction, meaning it is still a privately owned road.
Its closure was caused as a consequence of works required to bring the road up to standard, with traffic diverted to a notorious bottleneck where Dunmere Road meets Barn Lane, St Mary’s Road, the A389 towards Higher Bore Street and Westheath Avenue. Despite being slated to open in July, repeated ongoing delays, blamed on time required to cure concrete has seen the reopening date repeatedly delayed.
Leigh Frost, a Cornwall Council member for Bodmin St Petroc, said that there needed to be a more ‘joined up thinking’ approach at Cornwall Council when approving road works as the current scheme was causing problems for Bodmin.
He said: “It always shocks me that they’re never seems to be a joined-up approach in regards to road closures and/or traffic controls that directly compound and affect each other.
“You’d think there be wider consideration before anything’s approved.
“I don’t know if the road ownerships come into play on this case, but we’ve seen it happen before.
“Sometimes it’s emergency works and that’s fair enough but I’m not sure starting the road upgrades a few weeks later to ease pressure of the network would’ve hurt.”
The roadworks has particularly affected residents of adjacent Westheath Road, the location for one of the four-way traffic lights.
Affected already by the noise from construction works below their houses, the cause of the current traffic lights, residents on the road report disruption from dawn to dusk due to the noise of cars and not being able to get out of their properties due to the access being blocked by queuing cars.
One of those residents, Judy Stevens, said the ongoing traffic mayhem was adding extra misery to a situation already intolerable.
Mrs Stevens told Bodmin Town Council planning committee members at a recent meeting: “We are hemmed in by traffic lights and bombarded with noise for eight hours per day, five days a week.
“We can’t access our vehicles, and we are woken up by traffic noise and bombarded with it throughout the day.
“We don’t know where to turn to or what to do, but the ongoing chaos is ruining our lives.”