'Rat-run' drivers come under fire

The Four Lane Ends junction
The Four Lane Ends junction
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Frustrated motorists using a country lane to escape the gridlock sparked by roadworks on one of the town’s busiest roads have been slammed.

Four Lane Ends, a country lane off Pendle Road predominantly used by cyclists and walkers, has become a popular shortcut for drivers avoiding queues of traffic as work gets under way to install a new roundabout on the A59.

The staggered junction of the A59 at Pendle Road, one of the main access points for Clitheroe, is being replaced with a roundabout by Lancashire County Council to improve safety and allow for higher levels of traffic. However, this has led to a high number of drivers using the nearby country lane as an alternative route.

And concerned local residents fear it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured, especially when two speeding cars try to pass each other on the lane, which runs parallel to the A59.

Dog walker, Pam Kent says the lane is unmarked, has blind bends and has no footpath.

She added: “I walk Four Lane Ends daily. I have spoken with other walkers and runners who say it’s become dangerous because motorists are using it despite signs saying ‘access only’.

“Lancashire County Council have put a 30mph speed sign, but left the national speed limit sign in place, why is that not covered? This causes confusion. Also cars are using the road off the A59 signposted Standen Hall.”

County officials have promised to carry out an inspection to ensure the signage is correct.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We have placed ‘road closed except for access’ signs where Pendle Road begins in the centre of Clitheroe because the access to the A59 is closed. The traffic management is designed to encourage people to use the diversion route, and discourage the use of Worston Road to access the A59, however, we cannot completely close off Pendle Road as it would prevent people from accessing their properties.

“There is a 30mph speed limit in place on the A59 on the approaches to the work site, however, there may also be advisory 30mph signs in the vicinity connected with the housing development site. We will carry out an inspection to ensure the signage is correct.”

Pam explained the lane is very popular with walkers, some who are elderly, disabled and also families with young children learning to ride their first bike.

“I shudder to think of the potential collision with these children or any other walkers,” explained Pam. “Many also have dogs and have been used to it being perfect to enjoy a walk. I have taken to wearing a high-vis jacket in the morning on my walk with my dogs. It’s a fast ‘rat run’ with many drivers don’t even slow down in their ‘race’ to get onto the A59 and it’s only a matter of time before there is a collision.”

Coun. Robert Thompson, who is chairman of the Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership and ward councillor for Wiswell and Pendleton, said: “I sympathise with both the drivers and the walkers while work is being carried out, but I would advise the motorists to use the official diversion route and leave Four Lane Ends to pedestrians and people that need to access their properties off that road.”