A12 safety measures under fire

CAMPAIGNERS lobbying for speed reductions along a notorious stretch of the A12 have blasted the recommendations of a safety study, claiming they will do little to cut accidents.

Josh Warwick

CAMPAIGNERS lobbying for speed reductions along a notorious stretch of the A12 have blasted the recommendations of a safety study, claiming they will do little to cut accidents.

Councillors Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard from Suffolk County Council had previously urged the Highways Agency to introduce a 50mph limit and average speed cameras between East Bergholt and Stratford St Mary following a spate of crashes.

Their calls followed a survey of more than 400 households in Higham, Stratford St Mary and Holton St Mary, in which 80 per cent of respondents backed the measures.


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However, a subsequent Highways Agency study has rejected their suggestions. Instead, the only improvements will be the closure of the gaps in the central reservation at Hughes Corner - the B1068 junction to Higham - and at Squirrells Hall Lane.

Mrs Carpendale, Lib Dem county councillor for Stratford St Mary and Higham, said: “I am extremely disappointed that the Highways Agency is failing to take further action to reduce accidents.

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“Questions must be raised about how many accidents it will take for the Highways Agency to react to this situation.

“We had a similar fight to get the A12 road underpass at Capel St Mary. Six people died at the junction before the underpass was built.”

Mrs Carpendale said there had been numerous accidents on the stretch - including the crash which claimed the life of Essex police Sergeant Bob Walsham who died in January 2008 at East Bergholt.

County council Lib Dem leader Mrs Pollard expressed her disappointment at the study but vowed to continue fighting for improvements.

“I don't want to wait until people are being killed on a regular basis before changes are made,” she said.

“There are economic effects to consider, too. This is an arterial route into the county and accidents hold up HGVs going to and from Felixstowe Port.

“We will continue to lobby the Highways Agency and monitor accidents along the stretch.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “The Highways Agency takes safety on all its roads very seriously.

“We have carried out a study looking at options to improve safety on this stretch of the A12. The conclusions of the study were based on evidence provided by our safety experts, taking into account a number of factors including the need to provide value for money.

“Further traffic speed surveys are being carried out so that we can assess whether the option to provide average speed cameras can be considered in the future. Meanwhile the Agency will continue to monitor this stretch of the A12.”

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