A442 in Telford

The EP, Eastern Primary, A442, Dawley-Donnington Distributor Road, Queensway. No matter how you know it, you will know that it has been changed beyond all recognition over the past 30 years or so, taking it from a 70mph dual carriageway to a throttled 50mph dual/single in parts carriageway in order to reduce the number of accidents and casualties on this spine that runs across the middle of Telford.

A recent accident on the A442 at Stirchley, Telford
A recent accident on the A442 at Stirchley, Telford

Although the figures provided by the authorities suggest that the works carried out in 2006 at a cost of £620,000 have had a big impact and halved the number of casualties, anecdotal evidence is that the road isn’t easy to use and brings out the worst in drivers.  I spoke to a daily user of the road about his findings.

Whoever decided that it was a good idea to have a pedestrian crossing at the beginning of a dual carriageway clearly didn’t think it through, particularly when these lights follow another set on the trench lock interchange itself. If those lights are green, people will put their foot down to get through them, with the aim of getting up to speed on the dual carriageway. If the following pedestrian crossing then turns red, the driver is forced to slow down very quickly, leaving potential for accidents.

The whole design whereby the left-hand lane automatically filters off the A442 is flawed, and I have held this view ever since they changed it. The one saving grace is that these filter lanes are clearly signposted. However, they discourage drivers from using the dual carriageway properly. Firstly, it appears that not everyone who uses the road has a concept of distance, meaning that many switch into the right-hand lane much earlier than they need to, as soon as they see the signs at the two-thirds of a mile mark. Some even remain in the right hand lane right from Trench Lock – God help you if you don’t have a powerful engine and end up with an expensive German car behind you! This breeds frustration as drivers who wish to overtake are stuck behind someone plodding along in the right-hand lane when they don’t need to be there. Alternatively, people don’t realise which lane they need to be in until the last minute, meaning that they shit themselves and change lane dangerously, trying to squeeze into a small gap in traffic.

Do you agree? What are your thoughts on this stretch of road?

16 thoughts on “A442 in Telford

  • December 15, 2012 at 9:36 am
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    Totally agree with the left hand filter lane, never understood why they did that. I have found that people get into the right hand lane as soon as they get onto the EP from Trench lock, they also get into the right hand lane before the town centre turn off when travelling north bound.

    As for the pedestrian crossing, many times I have seen people jump a red light because they don’t realise they are there

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  • December 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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    The biggest danger is the inconsistency of the lanes through junctions – most are single lane for through traffic but a couple are not – yet drivers joining still come down the ramp at 50+ assuming the inside lane is theirs for the taking regardless of traffic and without a glance in their mirrors

    The whole concept of effectively giving priority to joining traffic flies in the face of national road safety principles – and a consequence is those who’ve been ‘Telfordised’ behaving the same way when joining the M54 – especially at J4! “Don’t care a toss if there’s solid traffic in both lanes, I’m going to barge my way in – you can nearly cause a pile-up by slamming your brakes on, don’t give a damn if the lorry behind you jack-knifes!” Or the tractor and trailer as in your picture!

    The whole concept of these lane arrangements is down to craven officials giving in to the bad behaviour of some road users – what would have been more sensible would have been some ‘Give Way’ signs and perhaps an equivalent of the sign seen regularly in France ‘Vous n’avez pas la priorite’ ………

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  • December 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm
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    Well said!
    I’ve driven in different country’s and they have a great road systems even in Taiwan, in telford you only have to look around not only the EP, twc highways was managed by a complete idiot in the early 2000s he had a nick name the king of speed humps because where ever he went he used speed humps, but also was at the beginning of the current mess that is the EP his legacy has cost us all in costs and lives and I have heard that the current view is to lower the speed limit to 50 not only in the EP but also the ironbridge bypass, but one of the biggest issues is the lack of road policing, if policed more it would help
    I remember a nasty accident in the 90s where a car hit the hump at homer lake which caused it to roll and lives were lost but nothing has ever been done to address it and the undulating stretch by oakengates. I personally try not to use it, but when I do their is always speeding cars passing like the I’m going backwards when I’m doing 60 and the doggie late moves to get to the slip roads due to them going to fast!
    Well done for your efforts to raise this issue lets hope something comes from it!

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  • December 18, 2012 at 7:01 am
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    The original master plan showed the road being one giant ring road around Telford and as most of the early development was taking place in the south of the town the planners needed to get quick access to the town centre, hence the short section of duel carriageway. Later we got Hortonwood and the duel carriageway was extended, this section cost far more than expected as it included a huge bridge at oakengates and massive earthworks and the iconic retaining wall. It was clear that between trench and shawbirch there was little or no population at the time to warrant a duel carriageway. So a single carriageway was constructed. The road was then originally designed to go from shawbirch and link back at Madeley pretty much like it does now. However when the motorway came or the Wellington bypass, a duel carriageway was decided to connect Wellington but only got as far as Ketley brook but this section of road was also to serve the big companies like Sinclair and aga who needed fast access to the motorway, ironicly the duel carriageway by Wrekin retail park was meant to go straight under the motorway and carry on too lawley. The bridges were built but never used and when the motorway resurface contract was done they were filled in with excess soil, they are under there somewhere! So the TDC intentions were good, but as time has gone on cuts have been made, the same principles have been used in Runcorn and redditch, I hope you enjoyed my short history..Steve

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  • December 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm
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    That iconic wall of chipped, coloured concrete was used as the backdrop for a BMW advert. I cannont find a pic of it anywhere – anyone help?

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    • December 18, 2012 at 7:00 pm
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      The wall was a exact replication of the random strata found whilst excavating the road, the embankment was plagued with problems it caused landslides galore! Lorries and lorries of coal were removed from the site, TDC wanted the maggot factory gone as itv was cheaper than another retaining wall, the oakengates rail tunnel also crossed the site to add extra problems.

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      • April 27, 2013 at 11:11 am
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        The canal above the Oakengates railway tunnel flooded the tunnel at one point in history as well.

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    • May 24, 2015 at 11:06 am
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      I helped to create this. I was responsible for transferring the architects drawing/plan – provided to me on an A1 sheet – and scaling it up, marking out the wall (using long tape measures and a chalk line) in preparation for the teams of tilers who were behind me filling in the segments. I think I was around 18 years old, so would have been about 1980 ish.
      You can see several photo’s using Google Street View:
      https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.698895,-2.450129,3a,75y,70.67h,85.88t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sRmHj67OTfw6Rd1QJBaI9Lw!2e0!6m1!1e1?hl=en

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  • January 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm
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    Nice article – as I have stated before the biggest problem is trying to squeeze two lanes of fast moving traffic into one lane – the maths just doesnt work!

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  • April 27, 2013 at 7:27 am
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    By far the worst maintained road in shropshire. Lights that remain on during bright sunny days. The potholes from randley interchange and beyond stirchley are disgusting. They are a better traffic calming measure than the fool who created the filter lanes or the cock of a tax collector who sits on top of the bridge with his camera.

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  • June 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm
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    Definately a case of the wrong control measure, encourages the worst driving and goes against everything you are taught as a learner driver. Have had more run ins with drivers that sit in the outside lane from T lock to the TC doing 55mph and refuse to move, then you get cars undertaking at 70+ because they are frustrated……… The answer is quite simple return the road to dual carriageway for its entire length, alter the shorter slip roads and ensure that “give way” signs are visible, and police! Not the camera vans but police to pull offenders up there and then not send a bill through the post. Have driven thousands of miles on dual roads in europe without any of the issues this little bit of road causes in Telford, however, living close to the EP I have also benefitted from the reduced noise levels because of the reduced speed, but you can’t win all ways….. Can you?

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  • July 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm
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    its just too busy with signs and road markings -very distracting. Very pooy thought out.

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  • July 27, 2013 at 7:27 am
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    Totally agree. As someone that uses the A442 daily, I have been involved in a minor accident at that ridiculousness pedestrian crossing and regularly get stuck behind drivers plodding along well below the 60mph speed limit in the right hand lane, completely oblivious to the rules that state the outer lanes on dual carriageways and motorways are overtaking lanes, not driving lanes. The original concept was even flawed, as the council commissioned independent survey, carried out before the road changes were implemented, showed that less than 5% of accidents on the A442 could be attributed to speed. The work was mainly carried out to meet government targets and was nothing to do with safety. Of course they don’t tell you that.

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  • October 9, 2013 at 8:23 am
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    Watch out for the camera van on the bridge just after the Stichley turn off . It sits on the second bridge so its hidden . Really annoying because cars have to pull out to let traffic come in from the left. To avoid an accident and because of dual carriageway rules cars already on the road have to speed up and move out to the right – boom the tax collection camera van has you .

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    • October 9, 2013 at 8:37 am
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      Actually there is nothing that says you have to pull out into the right hand lane or speed up. The traffic coming down the slip road has to give way to the traffic that is already on the dual-carriageway.

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    • May 24, 2015 at 12:30 pm
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      And that friends, is why you have the poor driving on the EP. Not the road, not the road layout, not the speed limit, not the road furniture. It’s the bad driving and the lack of driving knowledge – the irony of Sue McGavins reply is astounding.

      Reply

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