Letter: Hollins Lane Bridge and traffic flow

This letter sent to the Star was written by Mike Dodgson, Marchwood, S6

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 12:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 6:55 am
The Hollins Lane Bridge and its arch, Rivelin Valley, June 2019

In its early days, the Hollins Lane bridge in the lower Rivelin Valley coped almost like any other river/road crossing except that it could only accommodate a single traffic lane. There came a time after traffic volumes had doubled and on their way to trebling when an appropriate control system became the necessary solution as the bridge could not be modified by order.

This highly successful arrangement gave full priority to all traffic crossing the bridge from Rivelin Valley Road.

Today, sometimes at peak traffic periods the arrangement tests the patience of a few drivers affecting a few local households also, as is most likely the case at many other hotspots within our city boundary. Moonshine Lane roundabout, (Southey Hill to Rutland Road), is one good example.

Sadly, however, some motorists at Rivelin regularly try to display that their way is better with a culture that shows little respect for any regulations like a priority sign. A couple of incidents both bizarre and dangerous have been witnessed recently. Two vehicles fully crossed over the arched bridge from Rivelin Valley Road, as was their perfect right. The second following car, however, was abruptly stopped by a car waiting to cross the bridge from Stannington preventing continuous satisfactory progress up Hollins Lane. The blocking car driver insisted that the rear car reverse back over the bridge into the main busy Rivelin Valley Road claiming that it had been his turn. Only the serious rapid build-up of traffic ended the stand-off to allow the second car to proceed. We may have a legal right of way, but we should never guarantee that we will be given it, as cyclists learn very early on their vulnerable two wheels.

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In the other incident, a car driver having correctly crossed over the bridge was waiting to safely cross Rivelin Valley Road up Rivelin Road opposite when a car from behind overtook it, steered left in front of the waiting car towards Rivelin Bank Road.

Some local householders would like to see control by traffic lights at peak periods. My opinion is that it would seriously affect the advantageous flow on the main Rivelin Valley Road and I would suspect that this idea has been officially rejected.

Another suggestion is a second bridge, even though for most of the time the bridge crossing copes quite well. Even in emergencies like Friday, July 5, it coped over a much longer time. My personal conclusion is that for now, the planners have it right maintaining realistic progress with minimum harm to the surroundings. Another bridge could destroy the present rural setting and it may well create a daily commercial rat-run, simply transferring the problems to Walkley Bank whilst not being the ideal solution for those residing by Hollins Lane.

Serious considerations could, however, be given (asap) to address the many years of vegetation growth that adversely screens traffic approaching from Rivelin Valley Road and vice-versa. This clearance would substantially help with fine judgements and any premature moves.

If my letters have encouraged readers to visit the lower Rivelin Valley, please try and avoid rush hour and park safely and considerately if attending the paddling pool.

Finally, I would welcome information on the Hollins Lane bridge back to the time of its construction as I'm sure many more readers would.