A34 accident blackspot to be resurfaced
The Highways Agency has announced it is to fix up four and a half miles of carriageway between Beedon and Chilton.
Earlier this year campaigners across the Downland area called for safety measures to be introduced after it emerged the road near the East Ilsley turn off averaged more than one serious accident every month.
Work will begin on Monday (13) and is hoped to be complete by Saturday, September 8.
It will involve overnight lane and carriageway closures with temporary speed limits.
The Highways Agency project sponsor, Nigel Leake, said the old surface on the section of road had come to the end of its life cycle and would be replaced to improve safety and the quality of the road.
“We have carefully planned the work to minimise disruption to road users and will be carried out overnight between 9pm and 6am on weekday nights only, when traffic flows are lowest,” he added.
Brightwalton resident and Green party activist Adrian Hollister welcomed the move but warned that HGVs were likely to trundle through the narrow Downland lanes in order to avoid the longer diversion.
“Finally the Highways Agency admit that there is safety problem with the A34 north of the M4. A little humility from the HA goes some of the way to fixing the problem, but now is not time to bodge the issue,” he said.
“Resurfacing is only part of the solution; enforced variable speed limits are the most effective way of resolving the safety problems on this road.
“I wonder how many vehicles or sat nav systems will respect the diversion routes? I'm betting Downland roads and villages will be packed with lorries diverting through Wantage - a traffic nightmare in the making. Are the local authorities joined up enough to ensure that the volumes of traffic diverting through the Downland villages will be monitored for appropriate driving?”
For four nights from Monday one lane of the southbound carriageway will be closed overnight between Chilton and Gore Hill with a 40mph speed limit in place; road users will be escorted past the work site using a convoy at 10mph.
For 16 nights, Monday to Friday only. from Friday, August 17, the northbound carriageway will be closed between the M4 Junction 13, Chieveley, and Chilton.
According to the Highways Agency, road users will be directed to follow a fully signed diversion route via local roads; long distance traffic will be diverted via the M25/M40 for the east and via the A419/A420 for the west.