£50,000 scheme to improve danger road

By Mark HeathA ROAD that has claimed the lives of seven motorists this year is to undergo £50,000 of safety improvements in an effort to stop the carnage.

By Mark Heath

A ROAD that has claimed the lives of seven motorists this year is to undergo £50,000 of safety improvements in an effort to stop the carnage.

Work is expected to start on the safety scheme for the A1101 at the start of December, while a reduction in the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph will follow early in the New Year.

The improvements will be made to a stretch of the road between Beck Row, near Mildenhall, and Prickwillow, just across the Cambridgeshire border.

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Since the beginning of the year seven people - all American service personnel or their families - have been killed there, including a mother and her three young children.

Cortina Hamilton and her children Alyssa, three, Malik, 22 months, and stepson Jalin, five, died in a horrific crash on September 26 when their car plunged into a 20ft ditch that runs alongside the road.

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The improvements to be made include deploying:

n continuous white “vibra-line” edging on both sides of the road, which will make a vibration noise if a car strays onto them

n enhanced centre line markings

n 3ft high reflective hazard marker posts

n regularly-spaced warning signs to alert drivers to watercourses beside the road

n “Slow” road markings on the carriageway at each bend.

Peter Monk, portfolio holder for public protection at Suffolk County Council, said the improvements had been agreed following consultations with Beck Row Parish Council and representatives from the nearby USAF bases.

“The important thing is to see if we can get improvements to help motorists in that area - we certainly hope we are not going to see any more fatalities on that road,” he added.

“We want to reduce the number of all accidents and by putting these measures in we hope to see that happen.

“But the onus is always on the driver. It's important to remind people to drive within their capabilities and according to the road conditions at all times. We will do all we can - but the motorists have to help us.”

Philip Haylock, chairman of Beck Row Parish Council, said it was pleased to endorse the improvements.

“There's devil in that road, but I think these improvements will help,” he added. “I feel that anything which makes both our American visitors and locals more aware of the dangers of the road has to be a good thing.”

Staff Sgt Chuck Marsh, a spokesman for RAF Mildenhall, said it was running its own safety campaign - called Operation Street Smart - in the wake of the deaths.

Among the rules brought in during the 12-month campaign is a prohibition on USAF personnel overtaking on roads around the base, including the A1101, A1065, B1112 and C602.

Staff Sgt Marsh added: “Many of these accidents were preventable and in our eyes that is unacceptable - this is our number one priority.

“As a base, and as members of the local community, we are fully supportive of any improvements that are made on local roads. Anything that can be done to improve safety should be welcomed.”


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