Airport Project Traffic Lights
Tuesday 12 June 2012
At its meeting held today the Environment Department Board considered the issue of the Traffic lights at the airport and at Longue Hougue.
The Board discussed the issues surrounding these lights with representatives of the Police, qualified local traffic engineers and its own traffic staff. At no time have external consultants been commissioned to give advice in respect of the use of the lights either before or after their installation. The Board also noted the letters and emails received by the Department over the last week or so.
The Board noted that the existing traffic lights which have been put in on a short term temporary basis are not of the same specification and quality as the fixed temporary lights that should been installed for the 2 year period and hence lack the robustness and control features that should be present. The lack of these features along with defects in the lights, causing them to break down on several occasions have, without doubt, caused some of the unnecessary delays.
The Board noted that the decision to require the lights was based on a number of criteria but that the safety consideration outweighed the traffic flow considerations. The decision had been to ensure a positive indication "stop/go" as opposed to relying on vehicles to travel through a filter at reduced speed. In addition, the use of lights would also enable a pedestrian phase to be added to the signals.
In respect of the airport lights the Board noted that, without right turn feeder arrows on the lights, West bound traffic wishing to cross the road to enter the airport was reliant on the courtesy of East bound traffic. Anecdotal information suggested that such courtesy had apparently been in short supply and as a consequence traffic wishing to turn right was unable to do so thus bringing West bound traffic to a halt. Nevertheless, the Department noted that formal traffic counts had not indicated any particular problems and that waiting times were generally no longer than a single cycle of the lights (approximately two to three minutes), with the exception being on occasions when the signals were not functioning correctly.
In so far as Longue Hougue was concerned, a key consideration in agreeing the use of signal controls was the ability to manage more safely the potential conflict between heavy slow moving vehicles and faster more agile vehicles - especially at night.
In respect of both junctions the Board noted and took into account the historic traffic accident figures as well as the percentage increase in vehicle movements during the airport project.
The Board considered the benefit that fixed temporary traffic lights at the airport with a right turn feeder arrow and pedestrian phase would bring but felt that on balance, in this particular case safety would not be significantly compromised provided the speed of contractors vehicles exiting the compound was controlled and that a filter along with control at the compound would force the application of the courtesy required to facilitate right turn traffic and hence supported the reinstatement of a filter, initially on a trial basis.
In respect of Longue Hougue, the Board considered that the risk of slow moving vehicles exiting the compound into fast and occasionally very fast moving traffic, especially at night, presented too great a risk and hence agreed that fixed temporary lights with the benefits such lights bring should be installed for the period of the contract.
Karl Guille, Traffic and Transport Services Manager
Tel: 01481 243 400