There have been several accidents and near-misses over the last few weeks alone.
Residents, who had previously agreed to put out warning signs and cones, only to see motorists move them and still use the Rake, are obviously concerned about potential serious injuries and risk to life.
Discussions have taken place with residents and the Head of Highway Engineering about different possible solutions, including possible snow gates to prevent vehicular access in poor weather.
The latest traffic count survey available for the Rake shows that it is used on average 1,365 times a day by vehicles.
Unfortunately, any physical measures used to close the Rake in poor weather conditions would have to be activated by Greater Manchester Police. Highway Authorities do not have the legal power to temporarily close a road in bad weather – only if there is something structurally wrong with the road such as a road collapse/sink hole etc.
Discussions with GM Police have indicated that resources would be an issue for them and they could not guarantee that an officer would be available to operate any snow gates or close the road on a regular basis.
Furthermore, physically blocking off the Rake could lead to a scenario where one snow gate is opened and the other left closed leading to drivers finding their way barred and having to reverse along the Rake.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution here.
The Council is now looking at the possible installation of amber flashing lights supported by “Road closed when lights flash” signs at the top and bottom of the Rake to support the existing signage.
Drivers accessing the Rake in poor weather conditions especially after driving past the existing signage are clearly risking serious injury to themselves and any pedestrians.
Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that they will follow up any drivers who ignore the current warning signs and attempt to negotiate the Rake and run into difficulties.
We will keep residents updated as soon as we have some more news.