Formby Labour Action Team leader sheds light on issue that has m

Peter Maguire

Formby Labour Action Team leader Peter Maguire is working to shed some light on an issue which has had motorists seeing red.

Peter has been contacted by a growing number of drivers who say the filter light system at Tesco/Formby Bypass junction needs to be reordered.

Motorists say from the Formby end of Altcar Road the filter light doesn't stay on long enough meaning that cars coming from Formby and travelling towards Liverpool are often marooned in the middle of the busy road. This also causes major tailbacks as cars turning right from Formby block the way for vehicles wanting to go straight through to the superstore.

Peter has contacted Sefton's Highways Department to find out how the system currently works.

He was informed that the operation of the junction, like many others in the borough, is governed by the hi-tech SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique) and COMET signal management systems. These systems look at the congestion on the approaches to the junction using a number of loops buried in the road surface.

In the case of the Tesco junction the systems deal with queues on the two approaches on Altcar Road (from Tescos and from Formby) in two ways. If the system detects queuing beyond the loop detector on the approach from Formby which is situated approximately 50m before the stop line then it will give additional time to the green light to allow traffic to travel in both directions across the junction to ease the congestion.

If the queue length does not decrease, then on the next change of the lights it will introduce the green arrow to allow an extra 16 seconds for vehicles to turn right without meeting traffic coming from the opposite direction. This will continue to operate until the loop on the approach from Formby has not seen a queue for 15 minutes.

Over recent months, the automated system's log has shown that the filter arrow on the lights typically operates between 8am and 9.20am in the weekday and occasionally on a Saturday between 8.45am and 9.15am.

Peter is now working with the council's Highways Department to see if there is any way the system can be improved for Formby motorists.

Peter said: "Improvements have been made to this junction, but I am still getting complaints from people who say it could be better.

"I have asked the Highways Department to look into some of the complaints which have been raised to see if any further changes to the automated system can be made to alleviate any potential congestion on either side of the junction and to eliminate the potential danger of cars being left stranded in the middle of the road once the lights change.

"I'd like to thank the Highways Department for working with me on this and reacting so promptly to the concerns raised by residents."