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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 11:13 GMT
Diversion signs put up in Polish
Road signs have been put up in Polish in Cheshire to stop Polish-speaking drivers getting confused and to help make sure they follow diversions.

Some Polish lorry drivers have not understood diversion signs in the past and have come "into conflict" with road workers, the county council said.

The current roadworks on the A49 start on Cheshire's border with Shropshire.

The signs have cost a few hundred pounds and it is not about political correctness, the council said.

Droge w prawo

It said there was a significant Polish population in the Crewe area, thought to be about 3,000, and a number of them made their living driving commercially.

There were "significant problems" during two previous schemes to carry out major resurfacing work on A roads towards the end of last year.

It's a practical reaction to a potential safety issue at roadworks
Steve Kent, Cheshire County Council

One sign with a right arrow reads "Do A 49 Whitchurch skrec w nastepna droge w prawo" which translates as "For A49 to Whitchurch turn right at next junction."

Cheshire County Council's county engineer, Steve Kent, said: "We were faced with potentially-dangerous situations with them (Polish-speaking drivers) not being aware of the need to divert off the A road.

"Out of 200 road signs for this particular scheme, just eight are bilingual.

"They are the main diversion signs at the start and end of the diversion - all on A roads.

"We feel this is sufficient to alert Polish drivers. From then on they tend to follow self-evident signs - the arrows.

"Polish people are part of the community and we need to cater for their needs."

Sat navs

The council added that there is a significant number of Polish-speaking drivers working for British haulage companies and Polish-registered lorries.

Mr Kent said: "In north-west England we get a high proportion heading for Ireland.

"(As they) go up the M6 using their sat navs, a proportion of them from about Stoke-on-Trent head across on Cheshire's main A roads towards north Wales.

"We'd prefer them to stay on the motorways. We have to accept it's not enforceable.

"It's been perceived in some quarters as political correctness. It's nothing to do with political correctness.

"It's a practical reaction to a potential safety issue at roadworks."

The roadworks, which go from just north of Whitchurch to the junction with the A534 at Ridley Green, started on Monday and will last until Easter.

The council said it would consider providing more bilingual signs if police felt they were necessary and would not rule out similar schemes in the future.

Highways officials called in a Polish translator to get the wording right.




SEE ALSO
Forum held for Polish community
03 Feb 07 |  Gloucestershire
Honour for Pc who learned Polish
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