Controversial rumble strips on noisy Northampton road to be dug up

Sleep-deprived residents of Gladstone Road in Northampton are to have controversial rumble strips, which cost £200,000 as part of a £2 million project, dug up and removed.

Northamptonshire County Council has agreed to remove the noisy surface, the sound from which had been likened to an aircraft taking off, after a three-year protest by residents.

Recent independent speed tests verified that traffic speeds had not been reduced, and in some parts had actually increased, and did not justify the disturbance to residents from the imprint surface.

The major highways project, of which laying down the rumble strips was a part of, cost a total of almost £2 million in 2011. The removal of the rumble strips could total £100,000, but it is understood that will be paid for by MGWSP, a county council sub-contractor, at no cost to the taxpayer.

Gareth Eales (Lab, Dallington Spencer), who led the campaign and relaunched the Spencer Dallington Residents Association (SDRA) in the process, said: “I’m delighted our hard-fought campaign has finally got the outcome we wanted. We maintained that traffic speeds had not reduced and I knew our request for the speed tests would verify that and make the counter arguments from NCC untenable.

“I made a pledge to residents that I would not rest until we got an amicable resolution and I have delivered on that.

“The next phase is engaging with residents to get some consensus over what method and time frame the remedial works will be done,” he added.

“The work is being lined up for May of this year and will either be done over seven consecutive weekends or a full week, the latter would mean some work being done overnight.”

The scheme, which was completed in 2011, aimed to reduce traffic speeds, improve the look of the street and enhance public transport with new bus stops.

In a letter to residents, Northamptonshire County Council said the curved layout and imprinted surface was intended to “reinforce the perception that Gladstone Road is not a major through route but a residential street where high speeds are considered inappropriate”

The council claimed average speeds before the works were 37mph and were now reduced to 31mph.

Residents of the road disputed the claim and said the noise of tyres on the intermittent surface had wrecked their peace.