Signage uprated following crashes on temporary link to Nash Lee Lane
Two cars crashed at speed on separate occasions into properties at the end of the new short link road from the Wendover Bypass to Nash Lee Lane, within days of its opening in early June. This is one of the temporary diversion roads built to allow HS2 works alongside the original Nash Lee Road. Local residents blamed a lack of adequate signage for what should be a 30mph section leading off the roundabout at the end of the main A413 Wendover bypass, along which vehicles are often driven very fast.
Mike Comlay, who lives in one of the two houses affected by the crashes, says that residents warned HS2 and Aylesbury Council that the unlit road would be unsafe during the planning stage last year. However, when it opened in early June there was little to indicate that it was not a straight-on continuation of the 60mph Wendover Bypass after the roundabout.
Following the crashes, the house owners affected felt obliged to install protective temporary high visibility water-filled barriers at their own expense.
In July HS2 and Buckinghamshire Council started to install clearer 30mph signage, reflective red and white 30mph road markings with rumble strips, No Through Road notices at the roundabout, with plans for signage at the T-junction end. However, the work is not due to finish until August and in the meantime cones with flashing beacons have been installed to clarify the road shape and hopefully calm speeding traffic. The residents’ own barriers were still there as Wendover News’ August issue went to press on 18 July.
The new unnamed link road runs from a new junction off the Wendover Bypass roundabout to Nash Lee Lane. This is necessary because the stretch of Nash Lee Road that it used to join is now blocked off while the HS2 cutting is constructed. Nash Lee Road itself is temporarily replaced by a new road section that curves to the east for a few hundred yards from the same roundabout before re-joining the original road north of the former Nash Lee Lane junction.
The link road narrows and bends before it ends abruptly at a new T-junction onto the original Nash Lee Lane (Google Maps: https://bit.ly/3q0bedP). Originally there was no Stop or Give Way signage or reflective strips to warn of the junction at this point and the vehicles ran straight on and into the gardens opposite.
Both crashes were captured on a CCTV security camera. Mike Comlay says they occurred at about 03:45 on 8 June and 03:35 on 24 June. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but according to Bucks Free Press (https://bit.ly/3XXJq6p) the driver of the first car was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving, driving without insurance, and taking a vehicle without consent, before being bailed.
Mike says that the first car demolished a fence and hit his neighbour’s Range Rover that was parked behind, causing extensive damage and pushing it through a brick and timber garage, narrowly missing domestic kerosene fuel tanks in the gardens. The second one demolished the replacement fence and a laurel hedge and ended up inside Mike’s garage.
Mike says “My wife sent the footage to Judith Wainwright, Buckinghamshire Council’s HS2 engagement and funds officer, who was horrified by the video footage.” He adds: “Due to the severity of both crashes an urgent meeting was then called and held on-site by the residents and the following people attended: four residents, representatives from highways, EKFB, Parish Council, Wendover HS2 mitigation group.” The installation of improved signage followed the meeting.
Mike was interviewed by Andy Collins on BBC Three Counties Radio, with a follow-up interview later that highlighted the road problem. The story was also shown on the BBC News website, with CCTV video of the crashes, here: https://bit.ly/43ppfQ9.
Apart from the speeding problem, residents were concerned from the start that the narrow section of road would be inadequate during times of relatively heavy traffic as children are dropped off and picked up from the Shepherd’s Hut Day Nursery at the end of Nash Lee Lane – particularly on days when bin lorries are also operating.
Further temporary diversion roads are going to be built closer to the centre of Wendover, to allow construction of the green tunnel for HS2. They are likely to be in place for some years until the tunnel is eventually roofed over and the original ground levels restored.