THE UK's first Dutch-style roundabout has been forced to close just days after its launch.

A hit-and-run driver damaged the controversial traffic circle, leaving no option but for workers to close the system for three nights.

The £2.3m roundabout on Fendon Road, Cambridge was damaged the day before it officially opened on 31 July.

Cambridgeshire County Council said a driver hit a zebra crossing beacon, with fears the impact may have caused underground structural problems to the pole. 

Repairs to the roundabout began on Monday night and it is expected to fully reopen on Thursday.

Britain's first ever Dutch-style roundabout opened in Cambridge to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians, but was quickly blasted by motorists.

Many have called it a cyclist "killing zone" and slammed the local council for spending £2.3m on the project.

Cyclists have an outer ring on the new roundabout, with cycle crossings over each of the four approach roads in a contrasting red surface.

It also features zebra crossings over each approach road for pedestrians.

Motorists must also give way to pedestrians and to cyclists when joining and leaving the roundabout.

Reduced lane widths on the roundabout and at exit and entry points are designed to encourage drivers to slow down.

Boris Johnson is said to be keen on creating a "mini-Holland", and has pledged to build thousands of miles of protected cycleways, Forbes reports.

During Prime Minister's Questions on May 6, the PM also said that the near future should be a "golden age for cycling".

It comes after locals expressed fears to Cambridgeshire County Council about the old roundabout- located near the city's Addenbrooke's Hospital- which "was perceived by many people to be dangerous to cycle around".

People also "reported feeling unsafe when walking in the area due to a lack of pedestrian crossings, particularly more vulnerable users", the authority said.

But concerns have been raised over the cost of building the new roundabout, which was originally estimated at around £800,000 but had almost trebled to £2.3 million by the end of the project.

A council highways report cited additional utility work including BT and UK Power Networks cabling, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, as reasons for this.

And some furious locals have said the new system is "confusing" – with one even branding it a "killing zone" on Twitter.

Reacting to the roundabout, Alice Hodkinson said: "Really Bad. This is a cyclist killing zone, like radegund road Perne Road."

While Paul Howell added: "Can't wait for everyone (yes everyone) to get confused and the accidents to start happening. How about spending the money on road schemes that need it."

And local Tony Stark said: "Putting pedestrian crossings on these in Cambridge is loading the bullet into a gun. I hope when the accidents start building up, the city council will be willing to pay out as ultimately it will be their fault.

"The road networks in Cambridge are out dated and can not deal with the current and ever increasing flow. Better road networks should be a priority not further slowing it down and prioritising pedestrian and cycle ways."

But cycling enthusiasts have defended the move, with Roxanne De Beaux, executive director of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign saying it "feels like a small piece of Dutch cycling heaven".

She added: "I feel very safe with this layout, the geometry made it easy to see the cars leaving and approaching the roundabout and the people driving were all giving way to the people cycling and walking."

The RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes also backed the decision, saying: "Going Dutch will take on a whole new meaning in Cambridge and the council should take credit for trying to improve safety for all road users.

"For drivers, this may well be an unusual junction to navigate in the first instance, but they should remember that priority must be given to both cyclists and pedestrians as well as the usual 'give way' to vehicles approaching from the right.

"Some might have concerns about the impact on congestion but ultimately, if the scheme reduces collisions and injuries then that will be the true measure of success."

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