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Safety at Puddock Road to be discussed

27 February 2024

Improving safety at Puddock Road will be discussed at the Highways and Transport Committee next week (Tuesday, 5 March).

Members will hear how the scheme forms part of the road safety programme and by making safety improvements to the road it supports the council’s ambition to make travel across the county safer, as Puddock Road has seen four fatal incidents between 2016 and 2020.

Last year, the Highways and Transport Committee discussed options and agreed a £700,000 budget for a scheme. A design was developed for barriers along the section of Puddock Road where the incidents have occurred, however, that scheme had an estimated cost of £1.8m. Work has been done on further options, including a reduced speed limit, and widening the road whilst introducing a rib line to narrow the lane and warn drivers when they approach the edge of the road. A range of options to improve safety along Puddock Road have been considered against the impact, benefits, risks, and cost to implement and maintain.

Members will discuss the recommended preferred option which is to reduce the speed limit and restrict access to those who live and work there. If approved, the introduction of a 40mph speed limit buffer zone and a camera enforced closure of Puddock Road that would restrict access will require a consultation both informally, and formally through the Traffic Regulation Order process.

Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Alex Beckett, said: “We’d like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of those who have died on this road. There are many complexities at Puddock Road from a highways point of view, we want to make the road safer given the history and we are looking at the most suitable option. In the past, we have looked at closing the road and various traffic management options.

“Based on the assessment work done, officers are recommending using enforcement cameras to restrict access to only those who live or work in the area to reduce the likelihood of any further serious incidents. This could be done by using an automatic number plate recognition system, and powers are expected to be in place later this year to support this. This recommended option will be on top of the reduced speed limit to 30mph, which is already being implemented, and we plan to treat the road by trialling a section to fix the deep rutting caused by large vehicles.”

The current speed limit along Puddock Road is the national speed limit. The road is straight but narrow and the surface of the road is uneven because the road structure is moving, and the large vehicles are causing deep rutting at the side of the road. Therefore, the national speed limit is no longer appropriate, and a lower speed limit is needed to improve road safety.

Following a consultation with the police, an application was made for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to reduce the speed limit along Puddock Road between Forty Foot Bank and Ramsey Hollow to 30mph, which was approved in January 2024. Other measures to support the reduced speed limit, such as reflective bollards and additional lining will also be considered. Following a road safety audit on the speed limit reduction, a 40mph buffer zone is also being recommended to the south of the proposed 30mph new speed limit to allow drivers to transition from the national speed limit.

The council is awaiting a Prevention of Future Deaths report from the coroner.

The committee papers can be found on our website and the meeting will be live streamed on the council’s YouTube channel.