Drivers face days of ‘chaos’ as Saffron Walden road to close

Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto - Credit: Archant

Motorists around Saffron Walden are facing chaos later this month as a key road is due to be shut for works.

Sparrows End Hill is set to close for nine days from May 18 while water main replacement work takes place and residents say the diversion could cause “chaos” in the area.

The road will be closed from its junction with London Road to its junction with Beeches Close, and with Wenden Road now longer available to motorists, the diversion for some could be as long as eight miles.

Essex County Council has named the official alternative route as via Newport Road, High Street, Bridge Road, Windmill Road, Springwell Road, B184, Newmarket Road, London Road and vice versa.

Residents are worried about the impact the diversion will have on bridges, particularly buses and lorries travelling over the Adam Bridge at Audley End.

Isobel Grant, chair of Wendens Ambo Parish Council, said: “For cars, it won’t be too much of a problem as a suitable route into Saffron Walden will be via the B1383 London/Cambridge Road then in via Wenden Road or Audley Road into town.

“Cars coming out of Walden on the west side can come out via Audley Road or come back on to the B1383 through Littlebury or Little or Great Chesterford to reach their destinations on the west side.

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“But buses and lorries are too heavy for most of the west side bridges and the suggested diversion route will add a significant time to their journey. Especially the 301 service operating between Saffron Walden Tesco’s and Bishop’s Stortford and vice versa.

“It has all the signs of chaos, as I am sure the bus companies will want to avoid the extra distance and cause problems by going over unsuitable bridges.

“On top of that, buses going towards Bishop’s Stortford will have to pick up people on the west side of the High Street as they will not be able to go along the Newport Road or Wenden Road going south or Audley Road. I should imagine this will be difficult for commuters going to and from Audley End by bus.

“The county council normally notifies us of such closures but this time we’ve had nothing. We’ve had to take it upon ourselves to let people in the village know and our parish clerk has sent out a circular email.

“It’s all a bit of a mess and I think it’s important that people are aware of what is going on.”