Work is currently being carried out to improve the safety of “Devil’s Head Crossroads”, the well-known accident spot in Brentwood. A collision between a group of under-18 footballers and a pregnant woman — as reported by the Romford Recorder — is just one tragic example of the numerous accidents that have occurred at this dangerous junction over the years. Straight away the new road improvement scheme will improve sight lines for drivers by cutting back trees. The rest of the improvements include reducing the speed limit to 40mph and introducing a dedicated right hand turn for traffic heading from Ford’s HQ into Childerditch Lane.
Long time coming
Local residents have been campaigning for safety improvements to be made to the junction for years. Essex County Council have been widely criticized for their lack of action. In 2009, the council initially earmarked £150,000 to go towards implementing a mini-roundabout at the Devil’s Head Crossroads. 18 months later, however, campaigners were told the money was no longer available.
While campaigners welcome the scheme as being better than nothing, the changes don’t quite match up to their expectations. Concerned residents have been pushing for a full roundabout to make the junction as safe as possible. Essex County Council have stated they have a budget of only £300,000 for the scheme, whereas a full roundabout would cost a prohibitive £15 million.
David Kendall — a Liberal Democrat Essex County Council for the Brentwood South ward — has been behind the campaign to improve road safety for residents for over a decade. He was also told by the council that a mini-roundabout is unsuitable for Eagle Way, a busy road with a speed limit of 60 mph. Moreover, other more useful road improvements are also beyond the council’s budget: a signalised junction would cost £416, 000 and an improved layout with speed cameras would cost £414, 000.
Positive change in the community
Ultimately, the scheme is being considered a positive change for the community. More specifically, an Essex County Council spokeswoman has explained how it’s been developed to tackle the specific causes of the accidents that occur — “failure to give way” is a cited factor in many of the collisions. Improving driver sight lines and lowering the speed limit is hoped to greatly reduce collisions and road casualties. The scheme is hoped to be completed by the end of the year.