Traffic queueing to enter the services on the roundabout at the Rush Green A10/A414 interchange has long been regarded as hazardous and 'an accident waiting to happen'.
The problem is caused by traffic queueing to enter the MacDonald's drive-in, causing vehicles to back up around the roundabout and preventing traffic from entering the roundabout from Stansted Road.
Whilst the roundabout has been designated as an urban clearway, which makes queueing illegal, the problem has persisted.
The site is owned by BP Oil Uk Limited and McDonald’s Restaurants Limited. The McDonald’s restaurant and drive though are operated by a franchisee, not by McDonald’s directly.
In both 2013 and 2014, the County Council received informal proposals from the McDonald’s franchisee for a new junction. The County Council reviewed the proposals and provided feedback, concluding that the proposal would in fact make the situation worse. McDonalds failed to respond to this feedback.
Later in 2014, signage to fully implement a Clearway of the roundabout was agreed and implemented in partnership with Hertfordshire Constabulary. Police officers subsequently carried out a number of enforcement exercises.
In 2015 further work on the issue was undertaken to look at the feasibility and benefits of installing additional road markings. A safety audit of these proposals raised a number of safety issues as well as concerns that they would interfere with the phasing f the traffic signals, creating other issues. As a result these proposals did not proceed.
In May 2018. Councillor Andrew Stevenson met with Hderts Police Chief Inspector McDonald and his team, together with Hertfordshire Highways to review progress. The police reported that they have been blocking the entrance from time to time to disperse the queue , but this takes significant manpower away from other police operations and this has not been a successful deterrent. It is also a somewhat hazardous operation for the police officers, who have to stand on the roundabout among fast moving traffic. The police have also served formal warning notices on the both MacDonals and BP, putting the onus on the companies to come forward with and pay for solutions to the problem.
The following month, local resident Nigel Bowen started a petition to put pressure on the council and companies tgo work together to resolve this issue. The petition was signed by over 1084 people. In its formal response to the petition, the county council issued a statement:
HCC, Highways Development Management have now received four draft alternative access and egress arrangements from the site owners McDonalds/BP, which are currently under review by HCC to check that they are practical and safe. This initial first step is welcomed, however a number of other issues (viability, funding of the works, land ownership etc.) will need to be agreed by all parties before HCC can be fully satisfied that the proposed revisions to access and egress arrangements are deliverable. This initial work is currently being undertaken and early conclusions are expected to be available in the coming months.
Following this, if the proposals are deliverable and fully funded, HCC will endeavour to work with all parties involved to agree the necessary changes to access and egress arrangements and facilitate the delivery of the agreed changes by the site owners.
Cllr Andrew Stevenson and the county council are continuing to work with the police over enforcement of the Clearway on the roundabout. This has included the police making the site owners aware that legal action could be taken if they did not address the issues created by their customers queuing to access the site.
The council's development team have received 4 (draft) access arrangements which are currently under review on safety and highway grounds. However a number of other issues, such as viability, funding of the works, and landownership will need to be agreed by all parties before the County Council can be fully satisfied that the proposed revisions to access and egress arrangements are deliverable. Following this, further more detailed work in terms of a fully costed scheme, including what funding will be provided by the site owners will need to be undertaken.
As of November 2018 no decision has been made or action taken regarding this longstanding issue.
Some of the information in this article has been sourced from a county council 2018 report in to the issue.
This article was last updated on Friday 2nd November 2018.