SCHOOLCHILDREN celebrated a brand new puffin crossing making a busy road impacted by HS2 works safer. 

Children from Beachborough School in Westbury donned handmade puffin masks on, Thursday, February 8, to celebrate the completion of a new Puffin Crossing in their village which will make crossing the busy A422. 

The new crossing runs over the A422 just to the west of the crossroads at Main Street and Biddlesden Road at Westbury and has already become well used.

Westbury is effectively a village of two halves; the busy A422 linking Buckingham and Brackley runs through the centre with the playpark, sports field, village hall, community shop and café on the south side of the road, and residential properties on the north.

The works were carried out by Buckinghamshire Highways and the cost of £223,000 was met by the HS2 Road Safety Fund which was set up in recognition of the impact HS2 construction is having on communities in Buckinghamshire and to leave a legacy of safer roads.

Several other projects have been completed in other locations around the county, helping to improve road safety.

Cabinet Member for Transport Steven Broadbent and local councillors joined school children and Simone Mitchell, the headteacher from Beachborough School together with Cathy Knott from Westbury Parish Council to mark the official opening.

Steven said: “We are delighted to have been able to bring about this improvement for local residents and especially children who use the park, playing field and who attend local schools.

"The A422 is a very busy road which has also been made worse by an increase in HGV traffic as it is a lorry route for HS2 construction vehicles working on the Westbury Viaduct.

"This scheme provides residents with a safe crossing point between the north and south areas of the village, and we know the changes will be much welcomed by everyone in the local community.”

Steven added: “The disruption caused by the ongoing HS2 works on our doorstep continues to be a real headache for many local residents but with access to this funding, we are at least able to address a range of road safety concerns that might otherwise not have been possible so we can continue in our efforts to improve road safety for everyone across the county.”

Puffin crossings are controlled by sensors installed in the top of traffic lights, rather than being controlled by a timer.

Pedestrians can press a button when they want to cross and the sensors detect when they are safely across before changing to green for motorists.