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THE Melksham community are still waiting for answers to questions raised about the plans for the new-look A350 Farmers Roundabout
In early April, Melksham News reported that work is expected to begin on the roundabout in the winter for up to nine months. The works will include a new traffic signalling system, more lanes and extensive carriageway repairs.
In response, the majority of Melksham News readers gave the plans a resounding thumbs down, raising a number of questions that could not be answered on the council’s website dedicated to the improvement works.
Melksham News approached Wiltshire Council at the end of April to ask if someone would be willing to answer readers’ questions, but six weeks on, has not yet received a reply.
A presentation about the new-look roundabout will be given to the Melksham Area Board this Wednesday, 6th June, by Stephen Wilson, Wiltshire Council highways improvements officer, who first revealed the plans to Melksham Town Council in early April.
A Wiltshire Council spokesperson revealed to Melksham News this week that the presentation would be a condensed version of the one given to the town council, with no additional information.
Some of the questions that remain unanswered include:
• Why is there no plan to coordinate the traffic lights on the Farmers Roundabout with the lights at McDonald’s and Aldi?
• Why not build a bypass for Beanacre instead of spending millions on the roundabout?
• What provision will be given to cyclists so that they can navigate the roundabout safely?
• Local residents have also suggested stopping the right turn into Asda from the Beanacre side of town and make customers go round the roundabout to access the supermarket.
Dozens and dozens of cars on the A350 are held up to allow cars turning right into Asda, which can sometimes be for only one car. Traffic flow would be improved, say critics, by removing the right turn; could this be incorporated into the new traffic proposals?
• Will the traffic lights’ timing be altered according to the time of day? Critics have argued that at rush hour in the morning and afternoon, hundreds of cars can be held up to allow a small number of cars out of or into Asda.
• Will the new system incorporate the very latest technology so it can react to the build up of traffic? Drivers have complained that there can be long queues in one direction, but the traffic lights only operate on a pre-programmed rotation. With modern technology, it should be possible for the lights to react to the build up of traffic, they argue. Google can detect busy spots; surely similar technology could be incorporated to ease congestion.
• Could the new traffic lights on the roundabout only be used during peak times, similar to arrangements used in Swindon?