Following the train wreck that is The Fishergate Bollard, Preston has seen a challenger for the title of “City’s Most Hated Traffic Brainwave” in the new Penwortham Bypass, aka John Horrocks Way.Advertisement
I had arranged to collect a tree from someone just off the roundabout near Booths. My plan was to set off from home at 4pm, get the tree at 4.15pm, nip into Booths for a hotpot and some fancy bread at 4.30pm, and then breeze capably into Salvatore’s on Liverpool Road for tea for 4.45pm.
It worked quite well until I got to the left turn on to the A59 from Liverpool Road. I immediately hit the traffic that was heading up Leyland Road, and the roundabout leading into Golden Way had turned into one of those weird Reservoir Dogs stand-offs with everyone eyeballing each other as we tried to work out who was going to attack who. I surprised myself by zooming on to the roundabout first, which I’m hoping came across as decisiveness, and not panic because it was getting dark.
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The lights on the next roundabout were begrudgingly letting three cars through at a time. Then I was through, and on to Golden Way. I had a slight breather before I hit the new supervillain roundabout at the Brown Hare. It was chaos. I had no idea which lane I should have been in and the satnav robot-voice lady had clammed up and withdrawn into The Cloud or wherever it is that she lives when she’s not patronising me. I was trying to look in all directions, pay attention to the lights and avoid all of the other car drivers who found themselves sucked into the Penwortham doldrum.
After three terrifying orbits of the roundabout I just picked an exit and went for it. There followed a surreal afterlife-like few minutes of travelling on such a smooth road that there was hardly any sound. It wasn’t heaven though, because I saw a sign for Blackpool just as I was too late to avoid the turn off for it.
I was going to Blackpool. It was almost a relief, but a short lived one as I’d misread the sign and was actually on my way to Liverpool. And look, I thought, there’s also a Brown Hare pub in Liverpool! And a Booths! Oh no, wait, I’m back on the roundabout.
It was too scary. I gave up, turned down Millbrook Way into Booth’s car park, had a defeated cry and texted tree lady to tell her I couldn’t collect it. Then I bought my fancy bread and hotpot, had another panicked snivel and slunk into Salvatore’s via the backstreets, 45 minutes later than I’d planned and sick of the whole foul jamboree.
When I arrived home I had a look at some Facebook and Twitter comments to see if anyone else was traumatised. I was in good company.
Steve Pickering took a beautiful photo of the sun setting on the “New Penwortham Car Park.”
And there is alarming footage of a driver taking a short cut along a pavement after becoming sick of the traffic jams.
A concerned number of Penwortham residents have even set up a Cop Lane Crossing Facebook group, which aims to put pressure on Lancashire County Council to create a safe crossing on Cop Lane, near the entrance to Hurst Grange Park.
Read more: Residents’ safety fears as Cross Borough Link Road is set to open
The group members believe that the road will become clogged with traffic trying to cut through Penwortham. They want a crossing to allow children who attend nearby schools, dog walkers and people with mobility issues to cross in safety.
Judging by today’s photos of traffic at a standstill along Cop Lane, and the antics of a frustrated driver who drove along a pavement to get out of the queue, I can understand their concerns.
Has the new Penwortham Bypass tried to send you to Blackpool? Has it added to the length of your journey or cut your commute? Let us know in the comments below.