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Information Overload!

This article was published in the January, 2005 Newsletter. The signage has since been simplified.

Has the Royal Borough's Highways Department gone completely barmy? Approaching Cannon Down Bridge, Cookham, drivers have no fewer than 30 pieces of information to absorb in the space of 200 yards, apart from any other road users (quotes indicate printed text):

  1. Hazard line on road
  2. 40 mph speed limit signs (both sides)
  3. Junction on right (Maidenhead Road)
  4. Sign: "Changed Priorities Ahead"
  5. "SLOW" on road
  6. 2 rumble strips
  7. Junction on right (access/parking)
  8. Sign: "Give Way 150 yds Ahead"
  9. Hatched area on road
  10. Sign - height restriction 12'9" 155 yds
  11. Sign - double bend, right then left
  12. Sign: "Give Way 100 yds Ahead"
  13. 40mph speed limit repeater
  14. 3 rumble strips
  15. 4 rumble strips
  16. Junction on left (Whyteladyes Lane)
  17. "KEEP CLEAR" box on road
  18. Pointless right turn arrow for southbound traffic
  19. Direction sign: "Cookham Dean, Marlow"
  20. Sign - road narrows on left
  21. Plate: "Single File Traffic"
  22. "SLOW" on road
  23. Give way triangle on road
  24. Give way lines on road
  25. Sign - give priority to vehicles from opposite direction
  26. Plate: "Give Way to Oncoming Vehicles"
  27. Sign - height restriction 12'9"
  28. Road bends to right
  29. Road narrows under bridge
  30. Black and yellow headroom warning on bridge.
 
signs gone mad

Despite all this, or perhaps because of it the majority of drivers having to give way overshoot the line. What is the point of this information overload? How much has it cost Council Tax payers? What does all this clutter achieve? How long do priorities have to exist before they cease to be "changed"?

Clearly this is a dangerous location. The obvious solution would be to create a separate tunnel for pedestrians and remove the pavement under the bridge. No doubt this is considered too expensive or perhaps it just requires too much imagination. So what do they do? It seems every time someone has a narrow squeak they add an extra sign. It obviously hasn't yet occurred to anyone to add a road junction sign!

Road safety would be greatly improved by removing all but essential standard signs and correctly positioning the remainder. Perhaps our council should take a lead from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which is planning to remove all the clutter from Exhibition Road.

It would be sensible to reduce the speed limit to 30mph on the approach side of the bridge only, so that at the point you are committed to your passage you can accelerate to clear the bridge swiftly. Unfortunately it is beyond the wit of British civil servants to have different speed limits in opposite directions.

Photo: R. Porter


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Last updated 12th April 2017