COUNCIL bosses have sought to assure pedestrians a new road island is intended to reduce the number of U-turns at a busy junction.

Essex Highways has been carrying work to install the islands outside Lewis Gardens, in Colchester.

Motorists regularly use the junction, just off East Hill, to avoid penalties from going from the High Street and into Queen Street.

But residents had suggested engineers carrying out the work had denied the works were anything to do with U-turns.

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “The aim is to reduce or ideally eliminate vehicles performing U-turns here.

“The traffic islands will certainly make the manoeuvre more difficult deterring drivers from attempting it. As always we would urge drivers to think before attempting anything that could be potentially dangerous to pedestrians or other road users.”

Concerns were also raised the road islands would only serve as a pedestrian refuge.

But the spokesman said it would “make it very obvious” to drivers not to do U-turns while pedestrians were crossing.

She added: “As in many similar situations, the space between the two islands will serve as an effective pedestrian refuge, where people walking across the Lewis Gardens entrance will have a visually defined and raised kerbed area to make it very obvious to drivers that they must not attempt to complete any such manoeuvre while pedestrians are present.”