AN ‘essential’ road safety project - which received government cash to fund a host of remedial works at a crossroads after being identified as one of the country’s worst - has had the brakes slammed on due to land ownership issues, the Chronicle can reveal.
The A628, which runs through Penistone, Silkstone, Thurlstone and Millhouse Green - recognised as one of the nation’s top 50 high-risk roads - has already been targeted for a number of traffic control measures, including orders to stop on-street parking and an extension of a 40mph limit, after a £1.4m grant from the Department for Transport.
However, the crux of the work - on the notorious crossroads which has been the location of fatal crashes - has so far failed to materialise despite cash being in place and Barnsley Council backing the scheme.
Construction of the revised road layout at the junction at Fulshaw Cross requires a land purchase, according to the local authority, and it is this that has delayed work at the site.
The halt has irked Coun David Greenhough, who represents Penistone West, who described the work as essential given the serious risks posed to motorists.
“Back in 2018 residents of Fulshaw Cross, between Millhouse Green and Langsett in Penistone West, were promised that a significant chunk of the £1.4m A628 grant would be spent on remodelling the junction,” he added.
“There have been numerous accidents and near misses over the years and myself and my Penistone West colleagues get frequent reports from residents about yet another vehicle ending up in their garden.
“Initial plans were drawn up which remodelled the junction to clearly define turning priorities on and off the main road to reduce accidents.
“Since then we have heard nothing, despite frequent emails to the highways team to ask for updates.
“The other planned improvements connected to this grant are moving forward, slowly but surely.
“This project is already funded, so the hold-up now is putting road users at risk.”
According to a council document, the local authority anticipated that securing the land required for the revision would be ‘straight forward’.
It added: “The scheme is intended to reduce risk to road users over an extended future lifespan, thus reducing the number of people likely to be killed or seriously injured on the road over the next 20 years.
“Past collisions are typical for a single-carriageway road and include vehicle loss of control, head on collisions and misjudged overtaking.
“These were distributed along the route with some small concentrations - the bend at Fulshaw Cross had a cluster of four reported injury collisions.
“Proposed works are all contained within what is legally defined as the highway, with the exception of one small element of the improvement at Fulshaw Cross.
“In its current form, it’s anticipated that securing the land will be straight forward, if not, the scheme will be re-designed to fit within the highway.”
After the delay was confirmed by the council, no timeframes have been released for the work at Fulshaw Cross.
Cabinet spokesperson Coun James Higginbottom added: “The construction of the revised layout for the junction at Fulshaw Cross has been delayed.
“This is due to difficulties in securing the land purchase necessary to deliver the proposed scheme, which extends beyond the current boundaries of the adopted highway.”