Open or closed? Councillor highlights confusion for drivers wanting to get from Stortford to Stansted via Gipsy Lane
A lack of clear signage means motorists heading out of Bishop's Stortford on a reopened road may not realise it is still shut at the other end.
The anomaly was highlighted by Stansted Uttlesford district councillor Alan Dean as he made his way home from the town with his wife, Catherine.
Unsure whether the cut-through to Stansted via Gipsy Lane was fully open through to the B1383 at Pines Hill, they decided at the last minute to avoid it altogether and drove along Michaels Road to Stansted Road. It was just as well as Thames Water has shut the road just beyond Blyth Farm to lay sewer mains.
This week, the Indie aired the 'frustrations' of businesses based at the farm which have had to endure months of road closures and diversions, leading to a slump in trade.
Cllr Dean has now called on Essex and Hertfordshire county councils' highways departments to "talk to each other" to ensure motorists have clear instructions on what routes are open or closed.
"Catherine and I drove out of Stortford to home. For the first time in several months, Hazelend Road at the Mountbatten [Indian restaurant] appeared to be open, but we were wary and bore right to the B1383 to avoid Gipsy Lane. As I suspected, Gipsy Lane was still barriered off at the Stansted end," he said in an email to Stansted's Essex county councillor Ray Gooding.
"The problem is that there is no notification at the Mountbatten roundabout saying “No Through Route to Stansted Mountfitchet”. Do county councils not talk to each other? Would you please ask Essex Highways to talk to Herts Highways to get the latter to sign the route appropriately? Otherwise there will be a lot of vehicles piled up in Thames Water’s hole in the ground!"
Cllr Gooding said that he would ask Essex Highways engineers to carry out a site visit.
"I confirmed to him [Alan Dean] that where the statutory service providers – in this case Thames Water – carry out works on the highways the respective county highway authorities have limited powers to refuse the work being progressed.
"Where they carry out their works, the respective service providers would be responsible for all of the diversionary signage and arrangements, not the county highway agencies. It would be inappropriate for the council tax payer to pick up a part of the costs for their works.
"Having said that, you will recall that when Affinity Water carried out the works on Lower Street in Stansted recently, Essex Highways did intervene when the traffic management was inadequate.
"I have asked that Essex Highways look at the adequacy of the signage on this side of the border and have similarly asked that they liaise with Hertfordshire to do the same."