Motorists are being driven to distraction by an incredible 71 signs in just one half-mile stretch of road in Gloucestershire. The warning signs on the A419 inform motorists of the speed limit, directions, place names and 36 “No U-turn” signs.
The plethora of signs cost the Highways Agency more than £8,500 and were installed to warn visiting drivers of potential dangers in the surrounding area. The signs were installed 12 years ago when officials claimed that illegal U-turn manoeuvres were a frequent occurrence.
Residents, safety campaigners and environmentalists say the signs are confusing, distracting and detrimental to the natural landscape. Highway officials have admitted the number is excessive and have now agreed to do a U-turn of their own and take down some of the signs.
The signs, which appear on every other lamp-post, also house their own lighting rig allowing motorists to gawp at each individual piece of street furniture as they guide their way down something reminiscent of the Las Vegas Strip. These signs are illuminated during the day as well as at night which is certainly not impressing ecomentalists that would prefer we ditch our beloved cars altogether for a trusty 6-gear bicycle.
Disgruntled resident Harry France summed it up: “Every week, we are encouraged to save power for the good of the planet and our road is lit up like Blackpool illuminations – where is the sense in that?”
Scott Tompkin, from Gloucestershire Highways, defended the abundant signage and said: “When the road was widened a few years ago the housing estate was not there and it was a major junction with a roundabout and a school. Then widening encouraged people to do U-turns so there were concerns for safety but I do think they went a little over the top with the signs”.
“But we do have a project on a different section of the A419 to reduce the number of signs there and we will definitely do something about this section. We are looking at adopting a decluttering policy.”
The motorists of the A419 will no doubt be relieved to hear that these distracting signs will soon be removed, as well as the eco-warriors of Gloucestershire who will see energy saved on this long main A-road. At approximately £120 per sign, not to mention the energy bills, lets hope the Highways Agency continues to look into excessive employment of unnecessary signage around the rest of the UK.