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Experimental scheme will close rat-running route

Collection of road signs

A JUNCTION used by ran-running motorists to cut through a residential area of the city is to be partly closed to traffic in an experimental scheme to improve road safety.

The left turn from Asquith Way westbound on to Asquith Boulevard is used by motorists wanting to bypass the traffic lights on the ring road traffic by instead driving along the quieter street that runs parallel to it.

Residents say speeding drivers’ actions are increasing the risk of accidents along the stretch of Asquith Boulevard, between its junction with the ring round and its junction with Shackerdale Road, near the Aberdale Pub.

Highways officers from Leicester City Council are due to block off the junction to traffic turning off  the ring road into Asquith Boulevard as a temporary measure to prevent it being used as a shortcut.

Vehicles will still be able to exit Asquith Boulevard to join the ring road, and a new segregated cycle lane will provide a safer cycling route.

The changes will be brought in initially for six months under an experimental traffic order, which can be monitored, altered or made permanent if necessary to ensure it is effective at cutting rat-running, reducing vehicle numbers and improving safety.

Leicester deputy city mayor for environment and transportation, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “Local ward councillors and residents have been calling for action to prevent this stretch of road being used as a rat-run by speeding motorists wanting to avoid the traffic lights on the ring road.

“The measures we are trialling will prevent cars from accessing that part of Asquith Boulevard from the ring road, reducing traffic noise, improving safety and air quality in the process. The junction will remain open to people living in the area to be able to access the ring road as before.

“We’ll be monitoring the effect of this work, and if it achieves what residents have been calling for, will consider whether to alter the junction permanently.”

Installation work is due to be carried out from July 11, with the experimental scheme coming into effect on July 12. The scheme will cost about £3,000 from the city council’s Local Environmental Works budget.

Local ward councillors Dr Lynn Moore, Cllr Melissa March and Cllr Geoff Whittle have welcomed the trial scheme.

Cllr Moore said: “We’re very pleased that this trial is taking place, in order to address the problems that residents have had to live with for a long time.

“It is an issue which has been brought up regularly at our council surgeries, and I hope the work now taking place has the effect of preventing what should be a quiet residential street being used as a shortcut by drivers.”