For some time HUQPC have been lobbying to get safety improvements at Brierlow Bar.
Brierlow Bar just another day
What’s coming towards us?
Why is it so dangerous? Its the straight roads encouraging high speeds approaching the junction.
No-one has been able to find or compile a definitive list of accidents, injuries and worse at this Junction – probably because there have been so many over the years.
Here are some attempts;
If anyone reading this page knows where a full list can be found, or even has anything to add to what is already noted here, as the Clerk to the Council, I will be very grateful to hear from you.
FAO Counciller F.K. KIrkham
Chairman Hartington Upper Quarter Parish Council
Dear Councillor Kirkham, I am writing to express my concerns about the road safety issues at the Junction of the A515 and B5053 at Brierlow Bar. I have been for the last thirty seven years, a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (Membership number 113429) and was the youngest person in 1974 to qualify as an Approved Driving Instructor. I have travelled the length and breadth of Britain and have rarely seen a more terrifying source of danger to road users than that created by the layout of this junction.
This unlit road junction is primarily a staggered crossroads where the Longnor and Chelmorton roads meet the Ashbourne to Buxton road some little distance apart. Staggered Junctions are always a source of extra safety issues related to the possible build up of four separate queues of right turning vehicles interacting with fast moving streams of trunk road traffic.
This junction also has a further complication with the B5053 bending sharply and the right turn into Harpur Hill being so close to the main staggered junction. These additional features impose the need for drivers to take the movement of traffic at this adjacent secondary point into account when negotiating the main junctions.
The provision of two slip lanes off the main north and south flows, rather than increasing safety, has unfortunately increased the complexity of the junction, introduced two more sets of giveway lines and made the safe negotiation of this junction a challenge on a good day.
The unlit sets of side-by-side bollards on the bookshop side of the junction always cause confusion to drivers new to the junction. They are unusual and I cannot think of a similar configuration anywhere in the area.
Now we should consider the visibility and weather conditions common in the Peak District. Rain, snow and thick fog are common at this junction. The junction remains busy even after dark for several months during the winter. With the issues of complexity I have outlined above being combined with issues of poor visibility it is almost impossible to be safe at this junction.
Furthermore, if one examines the type of traffic at the junction;
Heavily loaded quarry vehicles freewheeling downhill at “the maximum permitted speed” toward the junction from the South with similar heavy goods vehicles going Southbound trying to gain speed for the ascent to Sterndale Moor.
Small cars driven by mothers with children on board. You can stand in the bookshop carpark and watch them struggling to judge the moment to make right turns across the path of these “full speed” and “fully loaded” lorries.
Tourist motorcycle groups, with riders visiting the area for the first time, trying to negotiate this uniquely complex junction and stay in convoy.
It is no surprise that the junction is characterised and remembered by memorial signs to its victims rather than by the electronic displays (further distractions to concentration) imploring drivers to slow down or take care.
Rather than installing more “light up bright ideas” there, is it not time to replan the junction, as a roundabout or traffic light controlled junction to properly address these very real and pressing road safety concerns?
Please let me know how I, or the Institute of Advanced Motorists may be able to help to improve Safety in your Parish.
I would like to repeat that I consider the dangers to be created by the layout of this junction. There is no need for so many people to be put at such risk everyday.
RE – ROAD SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS
Report from Cllr Caitlin Bisknell for Hartington Upper Quarter Parish Council
Brierlow Bar junction
The Authority is aware of the injury related collision history at Brierlow Bar and this provided the justification for the proposal to install an interactive sign to be included on this year’s Capital Schemes programme. This was to address the increase in trend of injury related collisions involving southbound traffic at the junction. On average, this type of intervention has yielded a 40% reduction in collisions at sites around the County.
However, following objections from the Parish Council, the scheme was not progressed and we are now looking at the feasibility of installing a roundabout at this junction as suggested by the Parish Council.
A report has now been produced which suggests that a roundabout may provide a benefit in terms of collision reduction. Therefore, a brief has been submitted to the design team to carry out a feasibility study to see whether a roundabout could be accommodated within highway limits and, if so, what the cost of this might be. I will keep you informed of the outcome of these investigations.
On the subject of Sterndale Moor, visibility to the left is excellent when emerging on to the A515. Visibility to the right is restricted by the brow in the road, but, still considered adequate.
Interrogation of the Police’s injury collision data reveals that there have been no collisions resulting in personal injury at this junction since September 2005.
With regard to the speed of traffic in general on the A515, as you will be aware, the speed limit was lowered to 50mph in 2008. Our monitoring records show that, in the preceding 3 year period there had been 85 recorded injury collisions along the entire route (from Buxton to Fenny Bentley).
During the 3 years after the speed limit was lowered, this figure dropped to 42 injury collisions. During the latest 3 year period, there have been 48 collisions, so the initial reduction in the amount of collisions as a result of the amended speed limit has been maintained.
Also, specifically to Sterndale Moor, an interactive sign has been erected on the A515 on the northbound approach to help to regulate vehicle speeds further and aid compliance with the speed limit. I know that this is currently damaged, but, we are working on getting this repaired as soon as possible. Bearing these points in mind, there are no further proposals programmed for this section of the A515 at this time.