‘Someone will end up being killed’ - residents’ fears over major Sussex roadworks

Drivers face daily queues on the Horsham Road at Cheals roundabout
Drivers face daily queues on the Horsham Road at Cheals roundabout

Roadworks on a major road linking Horsham and Crawley have led to mounting safety fears among local residents.

Concerns are growing that someone could end up injured or killed because of drivers trying to avoid bottlenecks on the A2220 Horsham road at its junction with the A23 at Cheal’s roundabout.

Motorists are trying to escape the daily hold-ups by diverting along nearby residential roads.

Angry grandmother Mo Gilbert said: “I can see someone will end up being killed. It is just a death waiting to happen. It’s horrific.”

Roadworks first started in the area in October and are not scheduled to finish until June. But, said Mo, 62: “For this to keep going on for six months is ridiculous.”

The works are being undertaken to widen the road at the roundabout in a bid to cope with an anticipated future increase in traffic due to the building of a new estate at Kilnwood Vale in Faygate.

The work is being paid for by Kilnwood Vale developers Crest Nicholson - who last month sought the final go-ahead for 130 new homes at the Faygate site - and is being carried out on the company’s behalf by Breheny Civil Engineering.

But worried residents say there are many schools in the area situated in roads that are now attracting extra traffic because of the roadworks and they fear pupils could be at risk.

They also say it would have been better to undertake the roadworks in the summer when contractors could work longer hours and curb the amount of time taken to complete them, or at night.

But Crest Nicholson say night working is not feasible as it would reduce productivity and affect safety, ultimately leading to the works taking longer.

A spokesperson for Crest Nicholson said: “Crest Nicholson worked closely with the West Sussex County Council and our third party contractor, Breheny, to develop approved traffic management plans for the works being undertaken to improve traffic flows on Cheals Roundabout.

“The safety of all local residents is very important to us and we are working hard to minimise disruption for local residents whilst we undertake these essential works.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said:“To construct the works and ensure that the workforce is safe there is a requirement to close lanes. This does reduce capacity at the junction and therefore West Sussex County Council requested Crest Nicholson produce a communications plan so that advanced notifications and communications were undertaken to advise the travelling public and key stakeholders well in advance of the works to assist them in planning for the unavoidable disruption.

“The works involve deep excavations to relocate statutory undertakers’ equipment and therefore even if the works were being undertaken at night the traffic management would need to stay in place during the day. Those elements of the works that can be carried out at night, for example the final surfacing works, will be but this will be at the end of the scheme.

“All works on the highway network are coordinated by our streetworks team. There are a significant number of major schemes in the Crawley area that require road space and they can’t all be undertaken at the same time in the summer.

“There is no signed diversion as part of the works as no roads are closed so no traffic is being signed to go through residential areas.”