‘Urgent action’ needed to make key road safer

Rochdale Road, Walsden, near Warland End Gate.
Rochdale Road, Walsden, near Warland End Gate.

Worried councillors are calling for urgent action to be taken on a stretch of road due to fears for the safety of motorists and pedestrians.

Todmorden Town Council is calling on Calderdale Council’s highways department to lower the speed limit on Rochdale Road, Walsden, and install better road markings to increase awareness of junctions following several serious accidents in recent months.

Members have written to Calderdale Council requesting highways experts visit the area - particularly the junction of Rochdale Road and Warlands End Gate - and assess what can be done to ease safety fears.

Coun Mark Catterall, vice-chairman of the town council’s development committee, said: “Our main concern is that it seems to be too fast a road.

“Also, traffic is joining quite a busy road and that seems to be causing accidents.

“We want Calderdale Council to look at ways of making the road safer, possibly lowering the speed limit to 40mph rather than 50mph, or even 30mph.

“It also might mean changing the road signs at various locations to make it clearer that traffic might be turning off or joining the road.

“It’s about making people aware that it’s not just a straight road - there are bends and turn-offs.”

There have been long-standing concerns in Walsden about the speed at which vehicles are travelling when they reach the village, with drivers ignoring the change of speed limit.

“There has been a recent fatality and a number of quite serious accidents on that stretch of road,” Coun Catterall said.

“This means that Calderdale Council really should be looking at it.”

Coun Richard White, who is a town councillor in the Walsden ward, said there should be stricter penalties for drivers caught speeding.

“I think people go mad on that bit of the road because it’s one of a few stretches of road where the speed limit is over 40mph,” he said.

“If speeding motorists had their licences taken away, it would certainly concentrate minds.

“But that would require national legislation.”

A spokesperson for Calderdale Council said: “Cabinet will soon be considering a report with firm recommendations for future action, which will then be the subject of broad public consultation.

“We are aware of the poor condition of the carriageway surface on the Rochdale Road between Todmorden town centre and the Bacup Road, but have been deferring any maintenance due to the ongoing Environment Agency flood alleviation works.

“This road, along with others in the district, will be considered for resurfacing next financial year.”