THEY'RE changing the road direction
signs in Nantwich, causing confusion to visiting motorists and anger
to some residents who suddenly find themselves living on roads which
have become major route for heavy vehicles.
The picture above arose for
just a few days when a new sign (on the left) was erected in Beam
Street and before the old one (on the right) was removed.
True, a further sign at the
junction still sends Chester and Wrexham-bound traffic to the left -
place names missed from the larger sign above.
And still in place (in
July, that is)
the old smaller sign (left) which sends traffic to the right to get
to Crewe - contrary to the instructions on the new sign.
But now, the preferred
route to Crewe would appear to be to the left along the A532 (with a
turn off further ahead).
Preferred, that is, by the highways
authorities, at this point in Nantwich. Elsewhere in town motorists
are sent to Crewe via a completely different route.
The new route from Beam Street
takes motorists to Crewe via the "back door". By that I mean that I
have always thought of the A534 as the main way into Crewe. The most
direct, anyway, for the centre of town.
Note that Congleton is now
listed as to the left - but it is shown as via the A534, the
shortest route to which is to the right.
The reason for all this - I
am guessing - is that the road to the right is along a, currently,
busy road on which there are parking problems. Residents cannot get
access to the rear of their houses and so park on the road. Perhaps
the authorities are trying to keep the road less busy - or at least
with fewer lorries travelling on it. But they are thwarting their
efforts because, as I write this, the small sign across the junction
still sends traffic to Crewe along the A51 on to the A534 to
the right. (See this update).
A bugbear of mine when I
drive through towns that I haven't visited before is when the place
I am trying to find just disappears from the road signs. Of course,
that might not always be due to the work of the people who design
Nantwich is currently
plagued by fools who delight in turning the signs to point in the
wrong direction - quickly turning them the wrong way again when the
highway authorities realign them. Maybe other towns suffer in the
THE new signs started to appear last
month - just after Cheshire East Council took over from the now
defunct Cheshire Council - but I understand this is not down to the
new authority and that the signs were on the cards at least two years ago. It doesn't help that the
work of replacing the signs appears to have come to a halt for
IN another part of Nantwich, motorists
are sent all round the houses to get to Crewe by yet another route,
directed to the right by a sign at a junction where the "old" route
was straight on (right). Again,
this might be to keep traffic off a narrow street which saw a double
fatality a couple of years ago.
But the problem here is
that a new sign (seen right) directs motorists to Crewe along the
A532 (actually in completely the opposite direction) with the fourth
sign along this route (below, left) saying the way to Crewe is via
the A5020. The road hasn't changed, just the signage (as it's now
That's the road where local residents are up in arms about more
vehicles travelling on their route - endangering their children,
Note the inclusion of the
route number A530 (with no destination) in the "straight ahead" list
on the road sign. As the lower destination direction on that sign
shows, the A530 is to the right.
The answer is that
Wellington Road is part of the winding A530 which continues for the
very short distance to the Park Road junction (below). So the sign
designers have pedantically listed it.
At that junction the
route ahead becomes the A529. That accounts for the "Audlem (A529)"
listing - brackets indicating that you are not on the A529 at the
moment! I always thought that information on a road sign
applied to the junction ahead - an early warning - and
not to the spot where the road sign actually stood.
BACK to the "Crewe (A5020)" instruction.
That really is a route that goes all round the houses. To reach the
A5020, which is several miles from Nantwich, you have to travel
along the A500 towards Stoke-on-Trent (are you still following
this?) and along that road two of the signs don't mention the A5020
or Crewe. Instead drivers find themselves directed to
Stoke-on-Trent. Strangers must feel they have gone badly wrong
I also had a sat-nav with me. The female voice
was giving completely different directions, programmed as she was to
go the old way. With each "wrong" turn, the sat-nav quietly
reprogrammed "herself" and tried again.
I was eventually taken to
Crewe Station and told I had reached my destination. Well, I was on
the road I had keyed into the sat-nav, but at completely the wrong
end of it and nowhere near Crewe town centre where I had been
heading for the purposes of the test.
NANTWICH has been plagued by heavy
lorries passing through the town - I'm not talking about those
deliver goods to Nantwich retail outlets - and so maybe the signs
people are doing their best to stop this. You can, of course, guide
lorries one way and cars - less of a problem - another way by
imposing weight limits to keep the lorries off the problem routes.
Maybe it will all turn out
all right the end. Sadly, people who live on the new routes, which
weren't quite so busy a while back, will have to learn to live with
a problem previously affecting only others.
There are roads in Nantwich
where historic buildings were having their foundations shaken and
the buildings were in danger of collapsing. Road calming has been
introduced to Welsh Row, for instance. So that road is spared now,
but it's no consolation to residents on the new routes.
THE A530: The current road
signage is not the first confusion in this town. When the roads were
allocated their "A numbers" the roads people had a problem. The A530
road which had brought traffic from Middlewich to town met the
Stone-to-Chester road (the A51 - and that number took precedence).
A couple of hundred yards
further on, Beam Street (which is off the A51 to the right) is the
A530 again. The numbering continues along The Waterlode (inner ring
road) and on to Wellington Road - all round town and virtually
turning left or right at every junction. Then, as I said above, the
A530 turns right into Park Road and heads for Whitchurch, after
bearing left at the very next junction . . .
A left turn? Really?
AT this roundabout, the most direct
route to Chester is not the A51, which is reached by another route "all round
the houses" - almost a full loop, in fact - but straight on. Well,
that's the way I would have sent traffic.
True, you would have had to
prevent traffic turning left at one point by the River Weaver bridge, and direct them to stay on the inner ring
road (The Waterlode) instead. But anyone turning left at that point would find
those aforementioned road-calming measures hampering their progress.
Lorry or not.
Strangely, that road (Welsh
Row) is the
A534 - a route number which seems to pop up all over the place in the
Nantwich, so don't try to follow it off your own bat. At one point
in town the A534 becomes the A51 and then goes back to being the
The road sign pictured here
is in Station Road (the A534) as you approach the Pillory Street / Waterlode /
Wellington Road junction.
Audlem (A529), which is the Cheshire township
that the Pillory Street / Wellington Road route leads directly to as
the crow flies (but not from the point of view of A-road numbers),
is not even listed on the signs. Georgina Ross - of the Wellington
Road campaign group - drew my attention to that omission. See her
note that all the route numbers are in brackets which indicate they
are not direct routes. The road to the left is the A530, but this
sign is on the A534 . . .
I don't know about you, but
my head is spinning with the complexities of road sign numbering.
Perhaps road signs should carry the number of the road they stand on
as a plaque on the top.