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City plans to switch off its traffic lights

Credit: ITV News Central

Hereford County Council is planning to switch off its traffic lights in a bid to solve congestion problems.

Transport Chief John Harrington proposed the bold move as the local authority revealed the next stages of their review of major road schemes.

He put plans for a city bypass and Southern link road on hold and commissioned reports on the schemes after his group got into power last year.

The council is looking for alternatives if the road schemes are axed and among those is removing the signals along the A49.

Cllr Harrington is expected to confirm the review programme of the Hereford Transport and South Wye transport packages on January 24.

The plan for the switch off is gaining traction as drivers reported smoother commutes after lights failed last Wednesday (15 January).

Hereford is proposing to remove traffic lights to help solve congestion problems. Credit: PA images

Cllr Harrington said they have discussion with two senior officers at Highways England who say they were 'very happy for us to go ahead and consider traffic light removal'.

Tests would be run to establish whether removing traffics lights on the A49 is feasible.

We would do the microsimulation and if that came back and said it looks like it would work here, we would then do a live trial where we would have a set period where we stick orange covers over the lights and see how it went.

"This would have lots of safety mechanisms in place.

"The other thing I'm looking at is taking out all of the traffic lights that we've just put in on the Roman road.

"I would like most of the traffic lights in Hereford taken out if we can and return to either junctions or roundabouts.

"We are a compact city. We are fantastic and unusual in that respect. Really, we should be almost walking and cycling capital of the U.K."

– Hereford, Cllr Ian Harrington:

The RAC say removing 'unnecessary traffic lights' could lead to 'more reliable journey times' but any changes must be balanced for all road users.

Smoothing the flow of traffic by removing unnecessary traffic lights can lead to more reliable journey times – and lower emissions per vehicle, as traffic is no longer regularly forced to a stop.

"So in the right places, removing traffic lights could lead to some benefits in Hereford.

“However, there is a risk the problem of traffic could end up being shifted to another location. "It is also vital that any changes must be balanced against the safety of all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians who may rely on the lights controlling traffic to negotiate a junction or cross a road.”

– RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis:

The Institute of Highways Engineers told us congestion could be eased by the use of alternative traffic control measures and that there would be safety concerns over proposals to remove traffic lights at pedestrian crossings.

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