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The British Horse Society

Towcester by-pass A43 a safer road to cross

British Horse Society advises Highways Agency on Pegasus crossing for busy dual carriageway

The A43 at Abthorpe, near Towcester in Northamptonshire is now a safer road to cross thanks to work by the Highways Agency, advised by members of the BHS. County bridleways representative John Shenfield was actively involved in the provision of the Pegasus crossing which was officially opened yesterday (13 March).

Four local riders, including Theresa Hartley who runs a livery yard nearby, several cyclists, walkers and a dog attended the opening which is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country as it has necessitated the need for a 'horse corral' on the central reservation. The A43, now a busy dual carriageway, has barred the way for many horse riders in the area from accessing safe off-road riding since it was upgraded from a single carriageway as it literally chopped the Grafton Way Bridleway in two. John Shenfield and Ann Scott, a local rider, have worked hard for over three years to have a crossing put in place and went so far as to hold a demonstration at the site in October 2001.

Several improvements have been made to the approaches for both riders and vehicles with advance warning signs to alert drivers. Neil Doherty, the Highways Agency project manager for the crossing, said "We appreciate the assistance from the British Horse Society and local riders who freely gave their advice and help, alongside our own designers, contractors and partners in Northamptonshire in perfecting the designs of the new crossing.

"A safe route has now been provided for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to cross the A43, which also reconnects the Grafton Way Bridleway that was severed by the dualling of the Towcester Bypass. We are sure that all users will benefit from this new facility."

Theresa Hartley commented after using the crossing for the first time, "We are so grateful for this crossing. Before the A43 became a dual carriageway I could cross the road further up quite safely but since it was upgraded it has been impossible for us to do so. At long last I will be able to enjoy riding further afield again."

John Shenfield added, "Originally I was pressing for either a bridge or a tunnel which would have been the best option. I did have some concerns about this crossing but now that I have seen what has been done those concerns have been mostly put to rest. The Highways Agency has listened carefully to our suggestions and in the main have carried them out. It was obvious that knowledgeable equestrian input was essential in the planning of this crossing and we will watch to see how it works over the next initial months of operation."

The Highways Agency has produced a leaflet to explain about the crossing and this will be made available in local tack shops, feed merchants, and in the Towcester Town Hall and Library.

Approaches to the crossing are wide and well surfaced with post and rail fencing. There is a set of crossing lights for each carriageway and the corral allows horses to wait safely on the central reservation, shielded from the traffic by substantial fencing. The lights are monitored by CCTV cameras which operate in 'real-time' whenever the buttons are pressed to activate the green crossing lights.
Riders can operate the lights without dismounting, although there are separate buttons for anyone leading a horse or pony, and detectors are built into the signals to ensure they stay green until horses are safely across the carriageway.


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