National Grid will soon close Wrington Lane completely for up to six weeks for essential work to replace electricity cables. For residents of just under 200 homes the only way in and out will be the narrow stretch of the lane that leads up to Wrington Road and has no passing places.
Although National Grid will be providing radio control for traffic by banksmen at either end from 7am to 7pm during the week there will be no traffic control when they are not at work – evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.
Residents are concerned that this will put drivers at risk of collision or of multiple vehicles having to back up or down the narrow sunken lane. The lane is only one car wide, is without passing places and has blind turns at top and bottom.
“It’s a nightmarish thought,” said Susan Hibberd, one of the villagers who will be affected by the closure.
“There must be around 350 residents’ cars that would need to use the diversion, quite apart from delivery, service and emergency vehicles.
“We have been begging North Somerset Council’s Highways Department to allow National Grid to install traffic lights. This happened some years ago when Wales and West Utilities closed the lane to replace the leaking gas mains and residents had to use the diversion. National Grid is willing to use traffic lights but cannot do so without permission from North Somerset,” she explained.
Villagers say their fears are being ignored despite so many of them contacting ward councillor Phil Neve about their concerns. Mr Neve has tried tirelessly to convince North Somerset officers of the danger to residents, as has CRAG, the residents’ action group.
“Many of us are afraid of being trapped in our homes or facing unmanageable traffic problems,” said Mrs Hibberd. “We are sick with worry.”
The reasons given by North Somerset officers for refusing installation of traffic lights are that the lane is two-way, that motorists should “give and take” (though there’s no forward vision from top to bottom of the lane and the newly built footway reduces that even more), that lights would put pressure on Wrington Road and that they would be dangerous.
“We don’t question the need for power cables to be replaced and we accept the considerable disruption this will entail. But we want to feel safe, able to continue our normal lives and leave home without dreading what may happen,” she said.