‘Confusing’ junction blamed for tailbacks

Traffic lights at junction of Southgate Avenue and Ashdown Drive (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103803008
Traffic lights at junction of Southgate Avenue and Ashdown Drive (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150704-103803008

Residents have raised concerns over road accidents and congestion caused by a set of traffic lights at a busy junction.

The right turn from Southgate Avenue into Ashdown Drive was discussed at a meeting of the Tilgate Forum.

More than 30 people attended the meeting in the Community Centre in Shackleton Road.

Jim Leggett, a Forum committee member who had carried out a survey of the junction, said the turn was confusing and dangerous.

A green traffic light arrow is phased to appear for drivers waiting to turn right after traffic lights for opposing traffic on the A-road turn red.

Mr Leggett said he and another committee member who surveyed the junction saw many cars moving in the opposite direction jumping red or amber lights.

Traffic queues stretching back to the A23 form at peak times as a result, he said.

A spokesman for the county council, which is responsible for highways, said it was looking at a ‘new control strategy’ to reduce congestion in the area.

The spokesman said: “We are aware of a build-up of traffic in the area and are looking at a new control strategy to manage the queues in a more efficient manner.”

Acting Chief Inspector Rachel Carr, of Crawley police, said: “Over the past five years there have been five collisions within a 100 metre radius of the traffic lights at Southgate Avenue, and certainly the last two appear to be down to driver or pedestrian error, with another possibly attributable to a medical episode.

“This is as opposed to drivers deliberately jumping the lights and, as such, there does not appear to be a major issue here.

“In general terms, I am aware that the highways agency and others are looking at solutions to reduce traffic build-up in the area.”

The council spokesman added: “This junction is set up to national standards; the green arrow will appear following the appearance of a red light for opposing traffic.

“There is a clearance time from the appearance of the red light, southbound on Southgate Avenue, and the appearance of the right turn arrow. This allows the southbound traffic queue to move through the junction before the right turn traffic is released.”