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An accident waiting to happen

Date published: 10 January 2014

CHRONICLE readers have overwhelmingly backed calls from a leading motoring organisation for transport chiefs to reconsider the road layout at one of the town centre’s gateway junctions ahead of the arrival of Metrolink.

On Wednesday the Chronicle highlighted concerns about the Manchester Street roundabout under the Oldham Way bypass, which has been redesigned to include a cross-island through-route to the bypass from Manchester Road.

It will see trams rumble through as the line rises from Westwood to King Street and on to Union Street from January 27.

The West Pennine Group of Advanced Motorists (WPG-IAM) believes drivers are already confused by the road layout with a mini-island housing traffic lights on the town-centre side prompting lane-switches and a series of near misses.

Traffic coming off the eastbound Oldham Way from Featherstall Road and attempting to get up to the King Street island and Ashton Road is seen as particularly vulnerable. Other traffic flowing from Manchester Street heading out of the town centre often finds itself stranded across the lanes as traffic lights fail to let enough vehicles through. The addition of regular tram movements could see even more traffic chaos.

We asked for your views in the hope that transport chiefs might listen, and were inundated

Here’s what some of you think:

I USE it daily and often see confused drivers swapping lanes last minute, or cutting over chevrons to get up towards King Street/Ashton Road. The two lanes marked A62 become a chicane and the same happens if you carry on round to Manchester Road as a filter lane has been created for traffic joining it from Ashton Road which doesn’t have to give way to traffic already on the roundabout. Trying to turn up Lee Street is sometimes not possible as you find traffic whizzing up your inside. Rethink needed!


THIS is literally a car crash waiting to happen. Which faceless name thought it was a good idea to insert a tram track diagonally through a busy roundabout? Were they also involved in the Mumps Bridge/junction debacle? I bet they don’t have to ride their push bike through either.


WE complained months ago about this and were told that “drivers will have to get used to it.” My son got the same response when he complained and was also told to “carry on round the roundabout to try again.”


EVERYONE knows it’s wrong and badly designed and confusing, even for locals, but the planners say we just need to get used to it. Rubbish! The whole road layout there is a mess and confusing for drivers without the added hazard of a tram or two!


THIS roundabout is the worst-designed roundabout I have ever had the displeasure to navigate.


THEY will not change the layout now. I am a female driver, aged 44, and I travel along that way at least four times a day and I do not get confused. If drivers used common sense and used the traffic signs they would be OK. People are in too much of a rush to slow down and watch what they are doing and where they are going.


I USED this roundabout last week the first time while I was heading for Middleton Road. I will not be going this way again. Next time I’ll go through Royton and come out at Mills Hill. My son was in the car with me and could not believe, or for that matter work out, just where we should have been. It is a nightmare. I wonder how many people will be hurt or killed before this is changed? I hope whoever drew this one can sleep at night.


I USED this roundabout for the first time last summer approaching it from the by-pass from Featherstall Road and almost had a major crash. There is no give-way sign and as I approached the roundabout, the traffic lights ahead of me were on green. I carried on and had to stand on my brakes as a car approached from my right. I didn’t know who was at fault, but after using it again, I knew that I was. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.


THERE are too many lanes on the junction and too many options with some being misleading as to where they go.


IT doesn’t matter how many experts tell them the road layout is poor, it isn’t going to make any difference because it’s just so easy for them to blame drivers for getting confused, and then to claim on their insurance for any damage caused. Until claims against public bodies are successful then nothing will change.


THIS is why it is essential to retain the direct route through the Werneth tunnels and the existing Mumps station. It would be ridiculously short-sighted and foolish to shut an existing diversionary route that has no obvious future use should it close. It should also be obvious that it is essential that some peak-hour trams should run as an express service for commuters from Milnrow, Newhey, Shaw and Derker to and from Manchester without trundling through Oldham town centre and Westwood.


YOU can tell just by looking at it that it’s an accident blackspot. It’s especially confusing when driving from Manchester Road to get on the bypass towards Huddersfield Road. The lanes sort of switch just before you get on the bypass so it’s easy to find yourself in the wrong lane.


THIS is a good enough reason to keep open the original line which cuts out the town centre to the old Mumps station. Imagine the problems and delays that could happen to the service to Rochdale if a tram crash happens in the future. Never say never!


WHOEVER planned this road layout should be sacked. No-one I know knows how to negotiate this layout. It is Oldham’s Spaghetti Junction. I pass through every day and everyone just looks so confused!



This is an absolute ludicrous junction, who ever designed it should hang their heads in shame and be removed from office.

You think it is bad for car drivers as a driver of an articulated HGV for the last 35 years you should try negotiating this roundabout from Manchester Street on to the bypass its horrendous with cars coming at you from all directions and sounding their horns because you have to encroach on their lane.

A shocking piece of planning which is a disaster waiting to happen

I've used this junction many times and it is obviously flawed, hence all the letters etc. All I want to say really is to the transport chiefs - stop being in denial, stop being arrogant and think you know better than everybody else, seek help and advice from others and just sort the problem once and for all.

THey say drivers have to get used to it! What about drivers who have never been to Oldham before or who rarely drive round the roundabout.
How to get through a roundabout should be obvious. Someone referred to spaghetti junction but the junction only looks confusing from the air when you are on it's so simple to negotiate that you aren't even aware that you have gone through it.

OMBC need to get serious about accountability when they allow dangerous and poorly thought out things like this to be foisted on the people of Oldham

It isn't the first time a poor road layout has been undertaken in Oldham. Why is it allowed to carry on? Is there any cross consultation with other councils around Manchester? It would be stupid not to have peer reviews of large projects.

watching a SMALL CAR driving down Union Street even i,with double cataracts. can see a BIG TRAM.perhaps these are the same drivers who don't appear to know what DOUBLE YELLOW LINES
stand for!

Hmmm? Is the road an accident waiting to happen or are the motorists the accident waiting to happen?

Dont blame the motorist. Its poor design. As soon as you exit the bypass onto manchester rd you are blocked off by buses coming from the town centre that are cutting from the right to the left lane to pull in at the bus stop.

I dont spose any one has looked at the metro link map to see what stops where? if not you might want to where you will find out that the stop at westwood is completely unnecessary as all the metro link does is divert from its original track to stop at westwood then goes back on the same track it came off. ergo all the chaos and confusion it has caused could of been prevented not to mention the money thats been wasted. im not a driver but as a passenger i can understand the upset.

Due to the adverse publicity (this story and thread). The council must be aware that in the event of an accident they are potentially liable due to negligence. In that they have been made aware of the problems and have (so far) declined to act.

@mjhall. The Westwood stop is effectively the replacement for Werneth Station.

The loop through Westwood is to give it an easier gradient up towards Union St. A straight climb would have been too steep.

Mandinka i doubt it based on the only comments that have come from their direction.

as road rocket commented.

they appear to be arrogant, in denile and think they know better!

There is clearly an issue with this junction, even though the Council have not commented publicly. Why doesn't the Council Leader instruct the cabinet member with responsibly for transport to conduct a review and implement any necessary changes. This will of course mean that his personal campaigns/rants will have to take a back-seat for a while.
Please put the benefits and safety of town residents to the forefront.


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