June 20 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Gaw
Monday, February 18, 2013
AN EMERGENCY safety audit will be carried out on one of Essex’s deadliest roads after council leaders warned more lives could be lost.
The A120 has seen nine fatalities over the last decade, two of which were at the notorious Pellens Corner junction with another death taking place at Hare Green.
Leaders at Tendring District Council, who claim works carried out by the Higways Agency last year have failed to improve safety, have now called for temporary traffic lights to be sited at the accident blackspots while a permanent solution is found.
Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and North Essex, said he would be speaking to ministers about the issue shortly.
Roads bosses have reacted by moving forward a safety audit on the works and launching a speed survey.
Tendring District Council Leader Peter Halliday said: “The information I have is that there have been three deaths on that stretch of road since 2006 and there could easily have been more.
“We cannot wait to see if anyone else dies there before further action is taken and we have called for temporary traffic lights at both dangerous junctions. The changes that were made last year are obviously not working as there have been a whole string of accidents since.
“We need that stretch of the A120 to be made safer while the authorities involved sort out a permanent solution to this issue - which could well be debated in the House of Commons if Bernard Jenkin MP is successful.”
According to information from the Department of Transport there have been 18 accidents at Pellens Corner since 2005. There have been 20 incidents in Hare Green over the same period.
Mr Halliday said he believes the junctions are “equally dangerous.”
He added: “Of particular concern is the waiting point within the central reservation where a driver’s vision is restricted and this leads to people pulling out without being aware of the traffic approaching.”
Mr Halliday has written to Eric Cooper, Eastern Senior Networks Manager for the Highways Agency making the demands. The council is also setting up a meeting for Wednesday, February 20, with Mr Jenkin, as well as Essex County Council, and the Highways Agency.
It will be attended by Cllr Halliday, TDC Chief Executive Ian Davidson and Corporate Director June Clare.
The Highways Agency carried out safety improvement works to the Hare Green crossing in April 2012, turning the dual carriageway into a single road.
However, many have claimed it has made the matter worse, created confusion for drivers and campaigners have called for a roundabout to be installed along with speed restrictions and speed cameras.
Mr Halliday said: “We need to get round the table with the Highways Agency and have some serious talks about the way forward. “Residents are very concerned about this stretch of road and I can understand why – urgent action must be taken.”
Mr Jenkin said: “I wholly back this initiave and I will be pressing this case with ministers in the House of Commons shortly.”
A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “The safety of our road network is a top priority for the agency and we are committed to ensuring that the roads we manage remain safe for the many drivers that use them everyday. “In April last year we completed a scheme to improve safety at this junction. Under normal circumstances an independent audit would be undertaken after 12 months to assess the performance of the improvement scheme.
“In light of recent developments we are bringing forward that safety audit which will be undertaken as a matter of urgency.”
He added: “The agency will then review the findings of that audit to determine whether any further safety measures need to be considered. We are also carrying out a speed survey at this location to ascertain whether speed could be a contributing factor.”