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Truck Stuck

Signs at Clarke Lane


We have a regular problem in Bollington with HGV truck drivers following their GPS satnavs regardless of where they lead. All too frequently this results in them getting stuck, damaging walls and houses and taking hours or days to recover the vehicle.

On Friday 24 October 2008 Tim Boddington was asked by Granada Reports to be interviewed on the subject, particularly regarding the new signs at Clarke Lane (left) and Long Lane (bottom of page). These have been installed by Cheshire Highways to try and deter HGVs from getting onto the narrow lanes in the first place.

Up against the wall

Once we had filmed this I set my satnav to find the way to Tullis Russell’s paper mill by entering their postcode, the easiest way of setting a satnav. We then followed the route. It took us along Clarke Lane, Oak Lane, through the narrowest part of Kerridge, down Jackson Lane, into Chancery Lane and then an impossible corner for an HGV into High Street. Astonishingly it then ordered us into Oldham Street which is a no through road, with no turning place. At the end is the blank mill wall with no gate or door!

I suspect that the reason for this misdirection is because the OS co-ordinates for Tullis Russell point to the original entrance to the mill at the end of Oldham Street, rather than the modern entrances in Palmerston Street and Church Street. These co-ordinates get attached to the postcode, and together entered into satnav data.

Once we’d finished laughing we discovered that there was a truck stuck in Beeston Brow. It was lodged on an impossible corner. The load had shifted because of the slope and was leaning on No.13, Mr & Mrs Mason’s cottage. there was a small amount of stone and cement in the road from their roof. The guttering had also been damaged.

Up against the wall

Jane Clucas being interviewed by Ralph Blunsom, Granada Reports


Jon Beech was on the spot with his recovery vehicle together with the police. The driver was taken away for questioning. The recovery was estimated to take two days at a cost of at least £5,000.

While all this was going on another truck got stuck at the far end of Long Lane but was quickly recovered. Earlier in the week a mixer truck had also got stuck in Long Lane.

These are the signs (left and below) at the Shrigley Road end of Long Lane that this driver ignored.

Ignore the signs at your peril!

Would you drive a 38 tonne HGV into a lane this narrow past all these signs without knowing exactly what you were getting yourself into? It’s just over a mile of lane like this until the steep hill and the impossible corner. In many places along here the tarmac isn’t even as wide as the truck. There is nowhere to turn anywhere along the lane. Try reversing a trailer out of that! And by the way, it is a driving offence to take an HGV past the 7.5T limit signs. You’re certain to get stuck and that means you’re a sitting target for prosecution, points on your license, maybe loss of your HGV license which means loss of your job.

Do we really have to put a physical barrier across the road to stop truckers behaving like idiots?

What are we to do about it?

There is a serious problem with HGVs and satnavs! Although today’s cases were all British drivers, much of the problem is foreign drivers, particularly from eastern Europe, who cannot read or speak English adequately. Consequently the new signs are useless because these drivers can’t understand them!

We need a universally accepted symbol for a satnav with a red line through it in the hope that drivers will recognise the need to find another route. We also need the GPS designers to provide options within the software to enable the user to instruct the system to recognise that for an HGV the selected routes must avoid minor roads.

Road closed for more than two days to get this one out

The event was filmed by Granada Reports and was screened on 24 October 2008, 18:15 and 22:35. This included Ralph Blunsom interviews with Bollington residents Jane Clucas and Tim Boddington, who was also interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester’s Breakfast show at 08:25 on Wednesday 29th October 2008.