Drivers travelling to and from North and West Swindon via the B4553 will know of the confusion and danger at Cross Lanes junction and Wiltshire councillor Jacqui Lay (pictured) is hoping major changes will be made.
The B4553 (at The Pry) meets Cross Lanes on a sharp bend as it joins Packhorse Lane. Cross Lanes, which is a weight restricted road over the railway bridge at Swindon and Cricklade Railway Society’s Blunsdon Station, and the River Ray bridge, feeds traffic into Swindon as it joins Tadpole Lane. To the north an unclassified back road takes traffic to Hayes Knoll and Cricklade, shaving a few seconds off the trip if drivers deviate off the B road.
In the short term the Wootton Bassett and Cricklade Area Board has allocated money to improve the Cross Lane junction so that drivers know who has the right of way. “It used to be an actual cross roads but the arrangement was altered many years ago because of the number of accidents,” said Jacqui. “The volume of traffic has grown tremendously as the number of houses to the west and north of Swindon has increased. Many of the drivers are using the back roads to avoid Thamesdown Drive and Meads Way. There can be long queues of cars trying to get onto the unclassified road because of its single lane entry/exit which creates a bottleneck.
“It’s not clear who has right of way and this increases the dangers if drivers don’t know what others are doing. I think it needs a yellow line box in the junction so that people know not to enter it unless the exit is clear.”
Jacqui is also calling on Wiltshire and Swindon Councils to sort out the weight limit signs on Cross Lanes. At present there is a 17 tonne limit sign, but this is no longer enforceable because weight categories have changed. “Swindon Borough have agreed to upgrade the signs on their side but I’d like them to put a weight limit sign up by Abbey Stadium so we don’t have large lorries coming all the way down to Blunsdon Station. The railway bridge is under severe pressure and is being damaged by heavy traffic.”
Cross Lanes is due to be closed in late 2012 when Tadpole Railway Bridge has work carried out on it and the embankments, and Tadpole River Bridge (over the River Ray), close to the railway station, will be rebuilt. The whole area is likely to be affected should the 1,700 home Tadpole Farm development go ahead.