December 8 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 14, 2013
An MP has accused highway chiefs of a “dereliction of duty” for failing to improve safety on a notorious stretch of a north Essex road.
Harwich MP Bernard Jenkin spoke out after two serious car accidents occurred on the same day on the same junction of the A120 earlier this week. In one case, a woman driver was flown to hospital by air ambulance and in the other a man was cut from crash wreckage by fire crews.
The incidents on the A133/A120 Hare Green junction on Monday have led Mr Jenkin to criticise the delay in the implementation of effective safety measures on a stretch of road that been blamed for at least five deaths in recent years.
Earlier this year, work costing in excess of £200,000 to improve four junctions in the area was criticised for having made little difference while a plan to close a number of central reservations was a cancelled after local communities complained it would lead to nearby villages being used as rat runs.
Officers at the Highways Agency, who have been tasked to come up with a solution, say they are finalising proposals and expect to make a announcement soon. But with the wet weather now approaching, Mr Jenkin, who wants to see speed limits and roundabouts introduced at the dangerous junctions, has been left frustrated by the lack of action and has lobbied Transport Minister Stephen Minister to step in.
Mr Jenkin said: “After this week, when the first autumn weather has contributed to two near fatal accidents, we now have all the evidence needed that this stalemate can continue no longer.
“I have told the minister he must act. If not, I will take the matter to the Prime Minister. This carnage can go on no longer. [This is] a dereliction of duty to provide effective safety management of the road network.”
Mr Jenkin’s views have been echoed by Nigel Dyson, vice-chairman of the parish council in Little Bentley, a village near to the Hare Green junction.
He said: “When is something going to be done about this? The Highways Agency says it will be making an announcement soon but things are dragging on.
“We have been over the same arguments time and again and nothing seems to be happening. There was big meeting last October where Bernard Jenkin and our county councillor attended and it was agreed temporary speed limits would be implemented. But still they have not been put in.
“Back in 2005 we were told a roundabout would cost £½ million to install, and now we are being told it will cost £2million. Think of the savings that will be made in terms of police and medical services - it would pay for a roundabout in no time.”
In a statement, a Highways Agency spokesman said proposals are being finalised.:
It read: “Safety is a top priority for the Highways Agency. Traffic surveys took place at the A120 Little Bentley junctions earlier this summer. These allowed us to understand how traffic uses the junctions and how possible changes at the junctions might impact on local roads.
“Following analysis of the data collected, we are now finalising proposals to improve road safety at this location both in the short and longer term.We expect an announcement about these measures to be made in due course.”