Chicanes

Long Wittenham’s notorious chicanes could be coming to the end of the road. The parish council is in talks with Oxfordshire County Council to replace the chicanes with humps or speed cushions next year is a move to cut congestion and pollution.

Parish councillor Derek Shelton met John King from the county’s Highways department to discuss the state of roads in the village. Also on the agenda were the two chicanes with humps and the full width road hump in the High Street .

Mr Shelton said: “I raised the issue of pot holes and since then repairs have been carried out. We also discussed the topic of the chicanes and to my surprise Mr King shared the council’s view that the chicanes should be removed.”

Mr King said: “Delays and pollution are issues that need to be addressed and there’s also concern about wear and tear to the road surface on either side of the humps. We are looking at what can be done to improve traffic flows through the village at the same time retaining speed deterrents.”

The cost of removing the chicanes and humps and replacing them with new humps or speed cushions would be paid for by the county council. Work would involve the closure of the High Street but for how long and cost factors are uncertain as talks are in their early stages.

The traffic calming measures were introduced in 1995 at the request of the parish council, worried about speeding vehicles. The measures deter speeding but traffic volumes have increased since the expansion of nearby Didcot. At peak times in the morning and late afternoon there are frequent tail backs of vehicles held up at the chicanes and jams are often exacerbated by parked cars.

The parish council is keen to press ahead with new measures for the High Street but wants to retain the more recent chicane in Didcot Road that slows down traffic entering the village without causing congestion.

The council canvassed local opinion. Most villagers (80 per -cent) wanted the chicanes removed and 20 per-cent opposed the idea. Parish council chairman Tom Bowtell said there was a need to improve traffic flows through the village at the same time retaining measures that would deter speeding drivers.

The county council is looking at several options: retaining existing measures, removing the humps and leaving the chicanes, removing the chicanes and humps and installing cushions and removing all the traffic calming measures. Keith Stenning from county Highways said removing the humps and leaving the chicanes would be easiest to achieve but any changes would be subject to a Traffic Regulation Order at a cost of £3,000 and public consultation.

He said: “There is no guarantee that the consultation would support any of the changes or changes that could be afforded from the Didcot Locality Fund .We will be pricing all the options are will be reporting back.”

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One Response to Chicanes

  1. John Turner says:

    I don’t see what we will gain by removing the chicanes. They certainly do a good job of reducing speed within the village.
    The problem time is at school drop off and pick up time. This won’t change if the chicanes are removed, as it is the parked vehicles that cause the tail backs.
    And do we really want to improve current traffic flow when we have the likelyhood of increased future traffic from new housing in Didcot? That won’t encourage any efforts to develop a plan that directs traffic AWAY from the village……

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