HIGHWAY officers are to offer local hauliers the opportunity to take one of their vehicles to the new Brambling Fields junction to demonstrate the roundabout can be safely negotiated by HGVs.
Concerns have been expressed by the owner of one Norton company who has told his drivers not to use the junction as it is too narrow and is causing damage to their vehicles.
Dave Welham, who runs Welbeck Transport, is continuing to direct his lorries through Malton, as trailers navigating the second roundabout at the junction are mounting the kerb and damaging tyres.
His concerns have been echoed by local driving instructor Malcolm Pearson, who says very few people are using the new road layout and fears it could become a ‘white elephant’.
He said: “I can’t understand why one of the roundabouts needs to be so big in the centre when only one vehicle can get round it. Why have they done this when the other roundabout is perfectly fine?
“The fact that lorries are continuing to come through town after all this money has been sent is really beyond belief.”
Mr Pearson said he had spoken to local councillors and highway officers suggesting a public meeting to address the issue.
“We need to jump on this quickly and get some action quickly,” he said.
“Everyone has been waiting 10 months for this junction which was designed to ease the traffic coming through town and after all we have been through we are back to square one.”
Richard Marr, area highways manager for North Yorkshire County Council, said safety checks had been completed at Brambling Fields and the junction was found to be ‘fit for purpose’.
“Vehicles should be able to negotiate the roundabout if they are driving at appropriate speed,” he said.
“The question is whether some of the drivers are driving too fast and are caught out by the tightness and are therefore dragging their back wheels on the grass.”
Mr Marr said one of the reasons the roundabout had been designed in such a way was to keep costs down and force motorists to reduce their speed.
“I understand the reluctance of lorry drivers to use the junction if they have had problems there but I think we need to convince them to have another go,” he said.
“If we can talk to hauliers and demonstrate that they can do it, we hope they might go back to using the roundabout and don’t use the town centre.”
However, Mr Welham felt such a move was unnecessary.
“They have to accept that there are problems with that junction. As well as the tightness, it is short of signage which is confusing people who are not sure of the area,” he said.
“The evidence is there with all the marks in the mud without having to take a lorry and see how it gets round.
“The type of product we carry means drivers have to go very steadily and as they also drive all round the country, all year round, if they say a roundabout is too tight, then it is just too tight.”