This article was published in the January, 2005 Newsletter. The signage has since been simplified and the speed
limit is now 30mph.
Has the Royal Borough's Highways Department gone completely barmy? Approaching Cannon Down Bridge, Cookham,
drivers have no fewer than 30 pieces of information to absorb in the space of 200 yards, apart from any other road
users (quotes indicate printed text):
- Hazard line on road
- 40 mph speed limit signs (both sides)
- Junction on right (Maidenhead Road)
- Sign: "Changed Priorities Ahead"
- "SLOW" on road
- 2 rumble strips
- Junction on right (access/parking)
- Sign: "Give Way 150 yds Ahead"
- Hatched area on road
- Sign - height restriction 12'9" 155 yds
- Sign - double bend, right then left
- Sign: "Give Way 100 yds Ahead"
- 40mph speed limit repeater
- 3 rumble strips
- 4 rumble strips
- Junction on left (Whyteladyes Lane)
- "KEEP CLEAR" box on road
- Pointless right turn arrow for southbound traffic
- Direction sign: "Cookham Dean, Marlow"
- Sign - road narrows on left
- Plate: "Single File Traffic"
- "SLOW" on road
- Give way triangle on road
- Give way lines on road
- Sign - give priority to vehicles from opposite direction
- Plate: "Give Way to Oncoming Vehicles"
- Sign - height restriction 12'9"
- Road bends to right
- Road narrows under bridge
- Black and yellow headroom warning on bridge.
Despite all this, or perhaps because of it the majority of drivers having to give way overshoot the line. What
is the point of this information overload? How much has it cost Council Tax payers? What does all this clutter
achieve? How long do priorities have to exist before they cease to be "changed"?
Clearly this is a dangerous location. The obvious solution would be to create a separate tunnel for pedestrians
and remove the pavement under the bridge. No doubt this is considered too expensive or perhaps it just requires too
much imagination. So what do they do? It seems every time someone has a narrow squeak they add an extra sign. It
obviously hasn't yet occurred to anyone to add a road junction sign!
Road safety would be greatly improved by removing all but essential standard signs and correctly positioning
the remainder. Perhaps our council should take a lead from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which is
planning to remove all the clutter from Exhibition Road.
It would be sensible to reduce the speed limit to 30mph on the approach side of the bridge only, so that at the
point you are committed to your passage you can accelerate to clear the bridge swiftly. Unfortunately it is beyond
the wit of British civil servants to have different speed limits in opposite directions.
Photo: R. Porter
Last updated 31st March 2019