HCV's on Newmarket Road & Maid's Causeway

HCV using Maid's Causeway illegally returning from drop off at Pizza Express in Jesus Lane
The same vehicle unloading in Jesus Lane. Note it is practically empty. Smaller delivery vans for small deliveries?

Some of you may not be aware that this sections of road carries a 7.5 t weight restriction "except for loading", which means that heavy lorries are prohibited from using the road between the restriction signs at each end, unless they are actually loading in it or a road that directly adjoins the NR/MC.

Here's a picture of the sign at each end
7.5t vehicles can be identified by the following signs

This means that a lorry delivering to the Grafton Centre loading area via Fitzroy Lane ( the little entrance road to the Grafton Centre West Car park off Maid's Causeway), or to Wellington Street is quite within its rights.

But a lorry using Maids Causeway as a cut through to load in say Jesus Lane, Victoria Avenue or Fitzroy Street is breaking the law. Similarly, in the other direction, heavy vehicles using Maid's Causeway as a cut through from say Jesus Lane, Kings Street or Victoria Avenue to get to East Road or Newmarket Road are also infringing. In all cases, unless the vehicle is actually loading directly off Maid's Causeway/Newmarket Road between the restriction signs, the vehicle is committing an offence. Unfortunately it is widespread.

Surveys we have conducted informally show that this can amount to up to 15 illegal vehicles per hour. This produces extra noise and pollution locally, and, combined with poor road surfaces in many parts of Maid's Causeway/Newmarket Road, quite significant ground vibrations that many residents complain can be felt in their houses, particularly as the road surfaces continue to deteriorate.

Buses of course contribute too, particularly if speeding, but they are there legally: many of the HCVs are not. Not only are they are breaking the law, they know it and flout it.

We have for some months been asking the council and the police to help us prevent this abuse. Following our surveys, BruNK has either contacted or held meetings with a number of key offenders. A few - Marks and Spencer and Boots being notable examples - have agreed to desist, but others, perhaps less sensitive about their brand image, continue to infringe. Most notable in this respect are the large pub and restaurant delivery vehicles that use MC/NR as a cut through to and from the City centre. Interestingly they are usually virtually empty when inspected: a few pizzas being delivered by a 15 t truck is not unusual.

We got the police to inspect the situation and they agreed there is an issue. As a start, we are sending the reg numbers of 'serial offenders' to the police and they are following up with the culprits direct. If this does not work, we will ask the police to enforce more visibly.

We will be asking the new transport body made up of members of the City and County councils for details as to how and when the surface on Maid's Causeway and Newmarket Road can be improved, along the lines of the excellent new surfaces on East Road and Elizabeth Way. This also applies to many other roads in Cambridge that have been neglected over time or had what might be called the 'sticking plaster' approach of patch and hope: streets such as Emmanuel Road, Hobson Street and King Street being obvious examples of egregious neglect in the face of heavy (bus) traffic.

We hope to be able to help deliver a quieter environment, and one that is less subject to pollution and vibration.