A speed limit reduction on a stretch of trunk road surrounded by housing and primary school has been ruled out as part of a £1.4m highway safety improvement package, it has been confirmed.
Barnsley Council won funding to improve the A628 trans-Pennine route between the Hoylandswaine roundabout near Penistone and the junction with the Stocksbridge bypass seven kilometres away following a bid for money earlier this year.
The funding works out at £200,000 per kilometre and work is expected to start next year, because the cash has to be used by April 2020 under the rules of the scheme.
But Coun Hannah Kitching said that although plans for exact details of the work remained in draft form at this stage, it had become clear a speed limit reduction at Millhouse Green would not feature in the changes.
That stretch of road has a 40 mph speed limit and has been the focus of safety concerns in the area for years, with a petition going in to Barnsley Council several years ago asking for the limit to be reduced to 30 mph, which would have put the road on equal terms with the stretch running through Thurlstone and Penistone.
Residents’ concerns focus largely on the safety of children attending Millhouse Green primary school, just off the A628 in Lee Lane, which is also a 40 mph limit – one of only two primary schools in the borough with a road outside that has a speed limit higher than 30 mph.
When the bid for funding was made, the council suggested that improvements to the road could include new pedestrian crossings, traffic calming measures and upgraded street lighting among the measures to be introduced.
Coun Kitching said she had been told any changes had to meet Highways England approval and dropping the speed limit would not pass that test.
“There are no plans to drop the speed limit in Millhouse Green, it has been deemed unnecessary,” she said. “It is crazy. This is a golden opportunity to sort out the speed limit, residents have been asking for that for years and years.
“People are still contacting me to ask if anything can be done,” she said.
Millhouse Green resident Max Reid said he had been monitoring traffic safety in the area for several years and had seen multiple near-misses on the same day in some instances.
“One of my sons has been involved in an accident with a car that was travelling too fast,” he said.