Petworth transport survey: Lorry signs cause ‘ambiguity and confusion’

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Perhaps the biggest traffic nightmare is the problem of lorries rumbling through Petworth’s historic centre and becoming wedged.

It had been a bone of contention for many years and eventually in April 2009 a long awaited £119,000 scheme to improve lorry signs was introduced.

It was part of a raft of measures to ensure drivers did not use unsuitable routes.

The aim was to emphasise the existing HGV restrictions and the alternative route lorries should be taking to avoid the town’s narrow 13th-century streets.

Lorries were already banned from the town centre, except for deliveries and loading, by a 7.5-tonne weight limit but this was often ignored.

HGV drivers, particularly foreign drivers, caught breaking the ban frequently complained they did not see the signs in time or they didn’t understand them.

New advanced signs were put up on each approach to Petworth and a vehicle-activated sign (VAS) warning HGVs was installed before the bottleneck point in Park Road.

The Baxter report says the route is ‘well signed’ but HGVs travelling to ’Petworth’ are directed from all approaches to enter from the east ‘which may cause ambiguity or confusion’.

The report proposes that all signage to ‘Petworth’ should be removed and the 7.5t weight limit extended to cover all approaches from the HGV lorry route.