"How many more people will lose their lives before something is done?"

bypass

Following the tragic news that two people died in a crash on the Alderley Edge bypass last week, dozens of motorists have taken to social media to call for improvements to make the road safer.

The fatal collision involving two vehicles occurred at approximately 4pm on Friday, 3rd November, and resulted in the death of an 85-year-old man and an 82-year-old woman from Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Just three weeks earlier there was a serious accident involving three vehicles on the A34 Melrose Way. Fire crews were at the scene for approximately 50 minutes on October 12th, they released one man who was trapped in an overturned vehicle and a second man who was trapped in a separate vehicle.

At the time a police spokesperson said "One sustained minor injuries, a 19-year-old man sustained serious injuries and a 37-year-old man sustained life threatening injuries. He is currently in a stable but critical condition."

In September 2013, 11-year-old Flynn Morrissey was tragically killed in a head on collision whilst travelling to school. A red Porsche crossed into the opposite carriageway on a bend in the road and into the path of a Ford Focus being driven by his mother Nicola Clifford.

Readers have contacted us by email as well as posting messages on the websites, Facebook and Twitter calling for action to be taken before there is another terrible accident. Below is a sample of the messages posted:

"This was designed as a dual carriageway originally so all.the sight lines are wrong for a single carriageway.... absolute negligence!!!"

"Awful bit of road, bad design that's costing lifes! Needs petitioning for better road markings or a centre barrier."

"Speed cameras have to be installed. Its only a matter of time before there is yet another crash on that stretch. So sad."

"What on earth is going on with this bypass ? Something has to be done to stop these terrible accidents! So sad."

"I hate this stretch of bypass it's really dangerous it's time something was done to make it safer."

"I think a lower speed limit and a couple of cameras may help as people go so fast along it..."

"This should have never been built without a central reservation. How many more people will lose their lives before something is done? I'll never drive on this road."

"Needs to be dual carriageway.... I've had a couple of near misses with cars overtaking slow moving traffic here. People need to stop crawling down this part of the bypass as it causes inpatient drivers to overtake and there's too many crests to check the road is clear properly."

"Should have been dual track all the way as people try overtaking and it's so blind in places would have been far safer as dual track all the way. So sad yet again another tragic accident on this stretch something needs to be done."

"I use this road countless times every single day as a taxi driver and thankfully have never had a problem. However despite driving at the speed limit I still get over taken by other cars doing inexcess of 80mph. Speed cameras are needed."

"Definitely negligence! It feels like a dual carriageway! It should be closed immediately and restructured!"

"This is the second bad accident now on this road so clearly there are serious issue with the design of the road. Wouldn't be surprised if it was due to cutting costs, shameful negligence."

"Such a badly designed road and it's costing precious lives. So sad."

"Speed cameras needed. Solid white line so no over taking. Lighting needs to addressed too. Such a sad story and could be avoided."

Others have commented that it is not the road which is dangerous but the way people drive on it.

"The problem is the idiotic drivers on the road not the road itself. Don't know why there's no speed cameras!"

"This is terrible news but why does everyone blame the road? Drive to the conditions, visibility etc and you will not crash (well, not on your own anyway)."

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: "Investigations are ongoing to understand the cause of the collision and we will work with the police to determine if any further measures are required as a result.

"During the development stage of the Alderley Edge bypass scheme, predictions were made about the traffic likely to use the new road. This work established that the road would not be required to be built as a dual carriageway and recent traffic counts have confirmed that the road does not carry sufficient traffic for dual carriageway provision."

Tags:
Alderley Edge Bypass
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Mark Duffy
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 3:01 pm
The Alderley Edge bypass was put in place for ribbon development access. Thats why its not dual carriageway. Insane lack of road safety. The person at the Highways Authority who passed it needs to be made accountable to the families of those who have so far died.
Allan Lunt
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 3:59 pm
I hate to say this but I told you so after the previous fatality and if nothing is done it will continue to happen.

Too many drivers do not respect the speed limit and seem to drive as if it is a dual carriageway.

Obviously at this stage turning the road into a dual carriageway is out of the question but double white lines down the entire length as opposed to lowering the speed limit and/or erecting speed cameras may be an a quick and economical solution.
Eric Teasdale
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 4:16 pm
The whole of the (Alderley Edge / Wilmslow / Handforth / Heald Green) by-passes should have a 50 mph speed limit.
The Alderley Edge section is more than 3 miles long with no slip road exits / entry roads, no roundabouts and no traffic lights. It has become a race track.
Park on Wilton Crescent or Eaton Drive on a Sunday afternoon and listen to the high speed whine of cars and motor bikes on the by pass !

A 50mph speed limit and remotely operated cameras (with automatic number plate recognition) on all the bridges would limit the number of accidents, deaths and incidence of serious injury.

After the first road traffic related fatal accident, in the UK, the coroner said " Let this never happen again" there are now more than one million deaths, annually, on the roads worldwide.

Eric Teasdale
Bob Bracegirdle
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 4:22 pm
Allan Lunt is right. I travel it regularly. If you keep to 60mph you are constantly overtaken by people doing at least 70. They think it's a dual carriageway because it's a bypass.

The answer is no overtaking and a 50mph speed limit as on many other similar urban roads.

As for ribbon development I cannot understand this. One of the road's problems is lack of access except for each end. Not much use for development there.
Richard Downs
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 5:31 pm
Mark is spot on. The person at the Highways Authority should be held accountable.
Rob Atkinson
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 5:40 pm
Thank you Lisa for posting this article perhaps especially on behalf of the families who have suffered.

A central reservation is unrealistic but signs (advising 60mph max and even the number of historic collisions/fatalities), double continuous central white line road markings and fixed or mobile cameras are all relatively easy and affordable. It may not eliminate accidents but must be a step in the right direction.
Stephen Justice
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 5:42 pm
The lynch mob thinking is understandable but hardly reasonable - as a policeman told me many years ago, there is no such thing as a dangerous road, only dangerous drivers.

Equally understandable but rather too hopeful is that death and injury will be stopped by painting a white line, posting a speed limit or installing speed cameras.

I’ve just read a few things which suggest that all those measures can have a positive impact on the number and frequency of incidents, but none has been proven to eliminate them.

The only answer I see to poor driving is to make it impossible to drive poorly.

The road needs redesigning to this end, but that doesn’t make the original designer guilty of aiding and abetting!
Malcolm Elliott
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 10:16 pm
They think it's a dual carriageway because it's a bypass.

No Bob, you got it wrong here. They think it is a dual carriageway because OF THE VACUUM IN THE CRANIUM.
Everything has to be built down to ESN =1% level

Stephen (above) is spot on.

Brexit is the very least of our worries.
Harry Martin
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 10:48 pm
There are plenty of speed cameras on the stretch of the A34 between B and Q and Kingsway / Gatley Road .Some of the road is now 30MPH . I wonder whether these cameras work as many speed past .
Malcolm Elliott
Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 11:32 pm
They think it's a dual carriageway because it's a bypass.

No Bob, you got it wrong here. They think it is a dual carriageway because OF THE VACUUM IN THE CRANIUM.
Everything has to be built down to ESN =1% level

Stephen (above) is spot on.

Brexit is the very least of our worries.
Steven Mccrory
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 10:02 am
Some people need to learn to drive and respect speed limits and conditions, accidents are mainly due to bad drivers and not roads. Lack of concentration, on their phones? Not keeping distance, some driving performance cars they cannot handle. It is not exclusive to that stretch you see it daily on all our motorways.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 12:21 pm
It is very easy for anybody to express an opinion on this site, which in my opinion is a very good thing. I am doing that right now. All I would ask is that all of us realise that what we are saying is just our opinion. Our opinions are all valid and relevant but they may not all be factually correct.

I appreciate everybody's concern about the number and type of Road Traffic Collisions on this and other sections of the Handforth, Wilmslow, and Alderley Edge By passes (AKA A34)

My professional experience is as a design engineer in the Built Environment. My experience is mainly related to Buildings but I have also done some infrastructure work.


My professional experience tells me that when something goes wrong with a built environment, the uninformed generally jump to conclusions as to what happened; what went wrong; why; how; and in the majority of cases blame ”the design".


I don't know why there seems to be a higher than anticipated / expected number of RTC's on the A34 Bypass. Or whether it is higher than anticipated / expected. All I do know, is that there are numerous reasons why accidents happen and the most common is due to human failing.

This could be human failings of:

1) The designer
2) The installer
3) The maintainer
4) The user.

or a combination of all or any of the above.
Peter Hallmark
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 2:35 pm
I think the following steps will solve this:

1) Average speed cameras fixed at either ends.
2) A central barrier through the dangerous curved section.
3) Reduced speed limit to 50mph

I feel very saddened by the tragic loss of life and it made me think that it could of been my parents in that car. I hope no one else loses their life on that road.
Ricky Lee
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 3:24 pm
1. Reduce speed limit to 50mph.
2. Place average Speed Camera at either end of the bypass would do the trick, not expensive to implement.
Paul Williams
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 4:46 pm
There seems to be a lot of assumptions about what caused the two recent collisions , without any credible evidence.

Let's not jump to conclusions.

My sympathies go to all those affected.

As for many of the other previous collisions on this road, the main cause is that one driver has crossed the central line into oncoming traffic.

This could be for a number of reasons- a few of which are
Overtaking
Tiredness
Loss of control
Distraction
Vehicle fault
Illness

An inpenetrable central barrier would prevent this but that does not appear to be an option on a three mile stretch of single carriage road.

Unfortunately, road collisions happen on single carriageways.
Allan Lunt
Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 9:35 pm
Paul,
You missed out the No1 cause..........................exceeding the speed limit .
The answer lies in how to prevent it.

Answers on a postcard to .........................................
Verity Williams
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 1:31 pm
It's incredibly sad for those who've lost family or friends. And a shame it takes a tragedy to address obvious issues. But it's not fair to blame only fast drivers. Speed doesn't kill. Inappropriate use of speed kills, and that goes both ways. Personally I'm tired of those who don't heed the speed limit (or possibly know it) by driving 20-30mph below it. Yes it's a max but on nearly every drive around Wilmslow and Alderley Edge - including the bypass, Macclesfield Road, Congleton Road, Knutsford Road - I get stuck on winding country roads with no safe place to overtake, because people don't seem to know the national speed limit is 60mph, not 30-40mph. It displays a lack of awareness of both the environment and the Highway Code. Why is driving always reduced to the lowest common denominator? Where people lack the skills to judge speed appropriately, know what road signs are indicating, that they've passed a speed limit sign, or how to judge the probable limit based on the environment - e.g. residential area, presence of street lights, number of lanes - improving driving skills, including improving awareness, would make roads safer than ever reducing speeds.
Craig Browne
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 2:25 pm
Dear all,

Several sensible points raised here - thank you for those.

I have already had initial discussions with my neighbouring Ward Councillors, with CE Highways and with Cheshire Police, to gain their agreement and support (some residents may not have realised, but the bypass actually goes through three different CE Council Wards: Alderley Edge, Wilmslow West & Chorley and Chelford).

Alderley Edge Parish Council will be discussing its own response at a meeting on Monday 13th November and I would encourage all residents who feel strongly about this issue, to come along and make their views known. As a reminder, the meeting will be held at the Festival Hall, starting at 7.30pm.

Kind regards,
Craig
Allan Lunt
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 4:46 pm
Craig,
Thanks for your comments.
Unfortunately I can't attend the meeting, but would it be possible for you to issue an update report on this website ?

Many thanks.
Richard Bullock
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 5:34 pm
I'm unable to make that meeting, but perhaps a few points could be discussed;
* All of the serious accidents since the road opened seem to have occurred in the northernmost half-mile of the bypass - from the Brook Lane Bridge to the northern roundabout.
* Double white-lines all of the way down the bypass may be easy but is definitely in "sledgehammer to crack a nut" territory. I'm sure some people on here would be the first to complain if they got 3 penalty points on their licence for overtaking a 20mph tractor against double-white lines on the straight bit at the southern end of the bypass - or for overtaking a cyclist choosing not to use the cycle paths (which not many people know is against the law if the cyclist is going more than 10mph). An ambulance or fire engine also has no exception in the Road Traffic Act from overtaking a car on double-white-lines unless it is completely stopped - not just driving slowly along like many do when faced with an emergency vehicle.
* Double white lines would be likely more effective if they were targeted at certain danger points - e.g. where visibility is reduced under Brook Lane Bridge. I don't like the proliferation of broken hatching on roads, but this might be one place where it could be considered - to discourage overtaking without banning it outright.
* A reduced speed limit is possible - but beware the law of unintended consequences. Those who would go for a risky overtake are likely to be those that would break the limit anyway. If the limit is effective in reducing average speeds (and national guidance suggests this is rarely the case unless you also implement physical changes to the road) - then the presence of more slower drivers might mean the number of overtakes increases, not decreases as people intend. Plus if average speeds on the bypass reduces enough that people choose to divert to other roads (most of which have a *much* worse safety record) - then the number of serious accidents in total might increase, rather than decrease.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 6:07 pm
Average speed cameras rely upon their being a front number plate on a vehicle. Many (most?) of the "super-cars" which are thrashed along the by-pass and are paraded through the village at the week-end do not carry a front number plate. I believe that is because it has been publicised that not having a plate is only punishable by a fixed-penalty of £60. No matter how many times one is caught it is only £60, no penalty points.
I have no information on this particular accident, or if excessive speed was involved but if average speed cameras are though to be a solution, then the penalty for failing to display a plate must also be changed.
Paul Williams
Thursday 9th November 2017 at 7:42 pm
Alan
I didn't miss speeding out.
As my post says, I just stated a few of the reasons, not all.

I deliberately didn't write it because too many people appear to be blaming the recent collisions on it without the facts being known yet.


Best wishes
Verity Williams
Friday 10th November 2017 at 7:35 am
Thanks Craig. I'll come on Monday and repeat this there but I wanted to add another side to the argument here, too.

It's incredibly sad for all the family, and awful that it takes accidents to discuss obvious issues. However, it's not fair to always blame fast drivers. Speed doesn't kill, inappropriate use of speed kills. We shouldn't always reduce driving to the lowest common demonimator with ever reduced speeds. Motorways at night are a good example where speeds tend to be higher, as are driving standards, with drivers displaying greater awareness and anticipation of other drivers.

On reflection of this issue, there are many single lane winding country roads in the area, with few safe places to overtake, where many drivers don't seem to be aware they're in a national speed limit and do 20-30mph below the 60mph limit. This happens frequently on Macclesfield Road, Congleton Road, Knutsford Road, Hayes Lane, as well as the Alderley Edge bypass. This causes two issues.

The first is it's indicative that either drivers are not aware they passed a national speed limit sign, they don't know what the sign means, or they don't know how to judge likely speeds according to the Highway Code - presence of street lights, a residential area, etc. If drivers are not aware they've passed signs, or of the Highway Code, what else are they not paying attention to or aware of?

Secondly, driving at up to half the maximum speed (which would likely cause you to be pulled over on a motorway) causes long tailbacks, drivers reduce distances between cars, and the bad cycle of accelerate / break happens on repeat. Inevitably, this is frustrating, increases journey times unnecessarily and potentially increases dangerous overtakes.

Perhaps an initial answer is to increase the number of speed limit signs on surrounding roads. As far as I've seen locally, roads tend to have only one sign when a new limit begins, with very few, if any, of the smaller repeater signs. I imagine this means that when people miss the initial sign, and see the large 30mph sign when entering the new reduced speed zone, they think the whole road is 30mph, and the problem repeats. It doesn't help that many signs are badly maintained. For example, at the start of the 60mph limit on Macclesfield Road, one national speed limit sign is missing, the other is hidden by trees. Beyond that, I wonder how many people don't know the national speed limit sign, and how it
Vince Chadwick
Friday 10th November 2017 at 9:31 am
This being a National Speed Limit single carriageway road, the limit is 60mph and that is entirely appropriate. Some drivers, however, choose to travel considerably below the limit, which can cause frustration in other drivers, who may then be tempted into making 'marginal' overtaking manoeuvres.

If conditions permit, one should drive AT the speed limit, not above it, and not significantly below it. Driving examiners call this 'making progress', and on a test you will be expected to do it. Not doing it is selfish, and is to the inconvenience of everyone behind you.

After decades of car driving I took the Motorcycle riding test in early middle age after a great deal of excellent training (you won't survive long on a motorcycle if you are less than fully competent so the training is to a very high standard as is the test). The trainers, and the examiner, will expect that you ride TO the speed limit where conditions allow. Not to do so WILL result in a 'fail'. And rightly so.

This road was planned as a dual carriageway and built as single carriageway, so there are no obvious easy overtaking places. The long gradual bends and the dip and rise at the railway bridge mean sight lines are limited. But there is no need for lower speed limits, solid white lines, or even speed cameras. Just thoughtful, unselfish, sensible driving
Paul Williams
Sunday 12th November 2017 at 8:15 pm
Richard, Verity and Vince- thank you for making some well thought out and valid points.
Ann Luke
Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 3:41 pm
There should be signage to inform drivers coming off the A34 dual carriageway that the road then narrows to single carriageway.

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