'Near misses and road rage' just to avoid a Dorchester Junction

'Near misses and road rage' just to avoid a Dorchester Junction

Published by George Sharpe at 7:06am 23rd August 2019.

DORSET Council has been told that it has a ‘moral obligation’ to sort out a traffic management scheme which led to extra traffic along a quiet residential road.

 Changes in priority which banned some turns at Great Western Cross in Dorchester, has seen traffic increases of between 12 and 17 per cent in Victoria Road as drivers use it for a short cut, ignoring ‘access only’ signs which the police say they are unable to enforce.

Residents from the road said this week they had been persuaded by Dorset County Council at the time to drop their objections to the changes at Great Western junction and were promised less traffic as a result of the changes.

Victoria Road residents say they've had problems with people using it as a shortcut to avoid the Great Western Junction

Now Dorset Council is recommending introducing speed humps and a 20mph limit to deter drivers taking the short cut .
One resident told of near misses and road rage incidents in the area since the junction was changed and passing traffic increased – although official figures only record one injury accident in the past five years.

What do Victoria Road residents think?

Resident David Sharman said Dorset County Council had a long history of not tackling the use of the road as a rat-run, or its parking issues:

“We have had considerable problems and the (Dorset County) council has broken promises over this,” he said.
He told the Dorset Council planning committee that more than 20 residents had been lined up to object to changes at nearby Great Western Cross, but were persuaded not to. He said the were told that the situation outside their homes would improve – but it did the opposite as soon as the changes were brought in.

“I just hope we won’t be back in a few years to ask for the next step,” said Mr Sharman.

Dorset Council wants to introduce speed limits and humps to solve the traffic problem in Victoria Road
Dorset Council wants to introduce speed limits and humps to solve the traffic problem in Victoria Road

Another resident, Linda Poulsen, said that since the changes there has been a marked increase in traffic along Victoria Road and other roads in the area:

“We have seen near accidents and angry altercations” she said.

Rodney Alcock said that road was a quiet residential street when he moved there in 1988 but was now, thanks to the council, “a busy thoroughfare used by people rat-running.”

Dorset Council response

Cllr Andy Canning, who chairs the town’s traffic panel, said there had been ‘unintentional changes’ because of the changes the former council had made at the junction and the new council now had what he described as a ‘moral obligation’ to put things right.
Subject to Cabinet approval the slower speeds and humps could now be in place this winter.

Some Victoria Road residents objected to the plans to introduce speed limits and humps
Some Victoria Road residents objected to the plans to introduce speed limits and humps

The new restrictions, if approved, will also apply to other roads off Victoria Road – Westover Road, St Helens Road and part of Albert Road, all to the west of Cornwall Road.

Three residents had formally objected to the 20mph and humps proposal, with 8 others making either neutral or positive comments.
The area planning committee was told at its meeting in Sturminster Newton on Wednesday that the estimated cost of the works will be £90,000.

Cllr Les Fry backed the speed humps and new lower limit as did fellow Dorchester councillor on the planning committee, David Taylor.
Mr Fry said that humps would make the 20mph limit self-enforcing and should slow down drivers enough for them to no longer consider the route a short-cut.

“Great Western Cross has not been the success it should have been…professional drivers see the lights turn red at the junction and turn off,” he said.

By Local Democracy Reporter, Trevor Bevins

The Wessex FM Newsletter



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