The road with 200 manhole covers per mile

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A road in Cambridgeshire with 200 slippery manhole cover per mile has been branded “fantastically dangerous” for motorcyclists by a councillor.

The main road through Cambourne, a new village, is designed to keep traffic within 20mph by blocking forward vision with a series of bends.

But planners seem to have overlooked the fact that for every bend in the road, underground pipes supplying drainage to village’s 3000 homes must also change direction.

And at every point the pipes change direction, a manhole is needed for maintenance access. 

School Lane has 97 manholes covers in a half-mile stretch, not including drains, according to Lister Wilson, senior councillor for the village. “I’m a motorcyclist and I think it’s fantastically dangerous,” he said.

Kate Wood, Principal Planning Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council, which approved and adopted the plans, said: “Cambourne was designed from the outset with traffic calming in mind.

“Effectively this means the roads are bendy to ensure traffic is unable to go too fast. The idea is that speed is designed out rather than enforced out.

“If pipes are making a bend under the road you have to have a manhole cover.”

She said the manholes were a hazard to motorcyclists “only if they’re going too fast”. When challenged on the point, she said: “I’m not a motorcyclist. Sorry.”

To read why we’re likely to face more roads like this, get MCN, on sale now.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell