RECKLESS motorists filmed illegally driving on the pavement to get around a road closure in Old Town have been condemned by police and Swindon Council.
Victoria Road was blocked off at its junction with Stanley Street on Monday to eanble work to be carried out to repair a portion of collapsed sewer. Motorists are able to drive up to the cordon on either side, but should not be able to get past.
However, a video published on the website YouTube on Tuesday, shows a stream of cars coming up the hill and then mounting the kerb to squeeze through a gap between a wall and the barriers.
The footage, posted by Nigel Scott, is captioned “How drivers in Swindon deal with a road closure” and shows eight cars, including a taxi, taking the short cut in just 80 seconds.
“At one point, a pedestrian is on the pavement with cars both in front and behind him.
Inspector Steven Cox, the head of roads policing at Wiltshire Police, said: “Officers have viewed the YouTube footage and were appalled to see such bad driving.
“The motorists who mounted the kerb and edged along the pavement were acting very irresponsibly and could potentially have put pedestrians at risk of serious injury.
“The film shows a pedestrian walking along the pavement in between cars driving along it. Motorists must abide by the closure signs while the sewer repair work is underway.
“The motorists recorded on the You Tube footage can expect contact from Wiltshire Police in the very near future.”
A Swindon Council spokes-man said: “We were alerted to this issue on Tuesday and immediately contacted the contractors asking them to install more robust kerb-to-kerb barriers, which has been done.
“Driving on pavements to avoid road closures is extremely irresponsible and dangerous. It is also illegal.
“The closure was advertised prior to the works and advance signage was placed at either end of Victoria Road.”
Coun Dave Wood (Lib Dem, Eastcott) said: “This is quite shocking behaviour by drivers. On the video you can see pedestrians walking in among the cars to try to get through, which is very unsafe.
“There is an issue of diffused responsibility here. Everyone seems to be doing it so everyone then thinks it's OK to follow the herd.
“You can get quite far up Victoria Road without realising there is a closure, so I think the Council should have made it more obvious."
The recommended diversion route from the top of Victoria Road takes motorists along Devizes Road, Newport Street, High Street, Cricklade Street, Drove Road and Groundwell Road. The route for traffic travelling from the bottom of Victoria Road follows the same diversion.
The work is due to be completed by Sunday.
Watch the video by clicking here