Four crashes in four days at Pontefract’s Town End junction

Accident at Town End junction, Pontefract - June 1, 2015 - Picture courtesy of Carol Ives
Accident at Town End junction, Pontefract - June 1, 2015 - Picture courtesy of Carol Ives
  • Motorists claim temporary changes to junction are ‘madness’ after four crashes in four days
  • Traffic lights removed and replaced with temporary roundabouts
  • Council say Town End is ‘one of the busiest junctions in the district’ with 12,000 to 15,000 vehicles using it
  • Council ‘constantly monitoring the junction with CCTV’

Motorists in Pontefract say temporary changes to Town End junction are ‘madness’ after four crashes in four days.

A £600,000 scheme is currently being carried out to replace the traffic lights with two roundabouts.

The traffic lights were removed last week and contractors built temporary roundabouts.

But drivers say unclear signs and road markings led to four crashes between Saturday and Tuesday.

Dom Smith, of New Hall Road, said: “It has just been absolute madness . They have taken the traffic lights out and put in some temporary pedestrian crossings.

“But the problem was people were coming towards the junction seeing the lights were on green and they automatically thought they had got right of way.

“There were no signs telling anybody about the changes . And the give way signs were placed right on the junction when it was too late for anyone to do anything about it.”

Mr Smith, 19, said there were crashes on Saturday and Sunday and on Monday, a woman had to be freed from her car by firefighters following another accident.

Then, on Tuesday a Citroen Picassao collided with a Ford Focus at the junction.

Mr Smith said: “It is just really poor planning and someone will get killed eventually if it’s not changed.

“Is it really going to take that for them to make it better?”

Carol Ives, of Wakefield Road, said she had seen several near-misses at the junction.

She said: “I think the biggest problem is the sheer volume of traffic that comes through Town End.

“It is a bottleneck and you can’t really cure that by making changes to the junction.

“I think the only real solution to the problem is to create a ring road or a bypass because traffic is always backed up on Wakefield Road, Mill Hill, Jubilee Way and Southgate.”

A statement on Wakefield Council’s website said Town End was “one of the busiest junctions in the district” with between 12,000 and 15,000 vehicles using the junction every day.

It said: “We are working as fast as we can with our contractors to improve the road layout for everyone who uses it.

“The vast majority of drivers are not experiencing any problems and they are passing through safely. Regrettably, there have been some accidents in recent days and we would urge all drivers to take care at this junction which has ongoing roadworks.

“Signs are prominently displayed - including advice that roadworks are taking place and indicating where to give way.”

Coun David Dagger, the council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “We take road safety very seriously and we are constantly monitoring the junction with CCTV. Please drive carefully at Town End junction and on all our roads in the district.”

The work, which was originally due to be completed in July, has been delayed because contractors found additional excavation works were needed. The scheme is now expected to be completed in early autumn.

Coun Dagger said: “We apologise for any inconvenience to motorists during these essential roadworks to improve this junction which in the long term will deliver real benefits to the town by easing traffic congestion. Please be patient while the works are carried out and do drive safely.”