Introduction

The team at Westcotec present a new series of stories behind their signs. For this first month, we have come to a location just north of Durham.

Where’s the sign?

You’ll find the sign on the B6532 Edmondsley
Lane near its junction with Potterhouse Lane to the east, and Trouts Lane to the west.

How much did the sign cost?

The budget for the entire collision-reduction
project was £20,000. Of this, £13,000 was paid to Westcotec for the signage and
thermal imaging technology.

How simple was installation and ongoing maintenance?

As it’s a solarpowered sign, there was no requirement for costly and disruptive roadworks at the time of installation. Similarly, routine maintenance has proved to be simple and
does not cause any delays or congestion.

What was the problem? Durham County Council reported a long-standing safety issue with turning-related collisions, caused in part by the staggered junction layout, and made worse by a hill crest on the approach to the junction from the north, effectively hiding stationary vehicles waiting to turn right into Trouts Lane.

How has the Westcotec sign improved safety at the junction?

The hill crest prevents traffic on the southbound B6532 from seeing vehicles waiting to turn right into Trouts Lane. The sign is part of an innovative system that employs thermal imaging camera technology. The camera now detects a vehicle waiting to turn and activates the sign, which flashes brightly to alert vehicles before they come over the hill crest, giving them time to slow down.

Were any warnings in use?

There was no ‘active’ system in place. Drivers only had the standard permanent steel triangular warning sign to warn them of the approaching junction. This clearly could not tell them whether there was a stationary vehicle waiting to turn right beyond the hill crest.

Has the sign done its job?

Yes. Between 2012 and 2017 alone, one fatal, two serious, and six
non-injury collisions were reported at the site. However, there have been no personal injury
collisions since the sign was installed in 2017.

Is the client happy?

Very happy. Paul Storey of Durham County Council
says: “The reduction in collisions means the sign has paid for itself many times
over. “The team at Westcotec worked hard to ensure they understood what
we needed. They made it a pleasure to work together using innovative road
signage to bring about a significant reduction in collisions at a particularly
hazardous junction. “In terms of results this has been a great success, backed
up by first-class customer service and technical know-how.”

To find out more about our projects please contact us.

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