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Ash Aspect: Should the ‘Near Miss’ White Lane Gap, on the Hog’s Back, Be Closed?

Published on: 11 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 13 Feb, 2019

By David Reading

Many years ago I was a passenger in a friend’s Morris Minor travelling along the Hog’s Back in the direction of Farnham. As we approached the gap in the central reservation that enables traffic to turn right across the Guildford-bound carriageway into White Lane, my friend prepared to brake. But as we drew near the west-east carriageway to cross, his foot slipped off the brake on to the accelerator. We shot across and were narrowly missed by a Land Rover doing around 60mph.

Ever since that near miss, I have been very wary of the notorious White Lane turning. In fact, more than wary, I have never once made that manoeuvre from that day to this.

So it comes as good news to me, at least, that at last Surrey County Council is looking at the possibility of closing off the gap.

The gap on the A31, viewed from White Lane. A vehicle waits to cross, while traffic roars by on both carriageways.

The danger at that point is not just hypothetical. The county has revealed that during the last five years there have been nine collisions at that spot, with six of these involving vehicles using the gap to turn right into White Lane or else to do a U-turn. Two of these accidents resulted in serious injuries.

On January 25th 2018, a traffic survey was undertaken at the spot during a 12-hour period from 7am-7pm. This recorded no fewer than 450 vehicles turning at the junction. And with a large number of new homes planned for the Ash-Tongham area, we can expect that figure to rise significantly.

The Surrey County Council Road Safety Team is considering two possible options. The first would simply involve improving visibility, having a white fence to silhouette the cars waiting to cross, and increasing the sight lines. The second option would be full closure of the gap.

Is there a downside? Some residents might argue that with the gap closed off, traffic would build up elsewhere, thus moving the road hazards to other locations. Drivers would have to take alternative routes – either back past the Hog’s Back Hotel and left down White Lane, or via The Street in Tongham.

The county acknowledges that a full assessment of the probable effects on surrounding roads and junctions will need to be undertaken. They may well reach the conclusion that one consequence of the closure might be a build-up of vehicles through Tongham, a village that already has its share of traffic problems.

Matt Furniss, county councillor for the area, has invited members of the public to email him with comments: matt.furniss@surreycc.gov.uk. He asked that it was stressed that the idea to close the gap is purely one proposal.

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test One Response to Ash Aspect: Should the ‘Near Miss’ White Lane Gap, on the Hog’s Back, Be Closed?

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    February 12, 2019 at 9:16 am

    It’s a “no-brainer”. Close the gap as they did on the A74. The accident level dropped to zero.

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