A140 safety measures revealed
A MAJOR bid to cut the number of accidents on one of the region's most notorious roads has been unveiled.Councillors want to improve safety on the A140, which runs between Ipswich and Norwich, after 12 deaths and dozens of serious injuries on the road in the past six years.
By Jonathan Barnes
A MAJOR bid to cut the number of accidents on one of the region's most notorious roads has been unveiled.
Councillors want to improve safety on the A140, which runs between Ipswich and Norwich, after 12 deaths and dozens of serious injuries on the road in the past six years.
They are planning to impose a blanket 50mph limit along the Suffolk stretch of the road, and cut existing limits through rural villages.
Driver warning signs flashing messages such as "TOO FAST" or "TOO CLOSE" to speeding and careless motorists are part of the plans, which will cost £30,000.
But a campaigner for improvements to the road, on which 80 people have died in just over 20 years, described the plans as "cheap – and not in the least bit cheerful".
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The 50mph speed limit, being recommended for approval by Suffolk County Council's traffic watchdog, would be for an initial trial period of 18 months.
It would run from Coddenham, where the A140 joins the A14, to Scole, at the junction with the A143, covering the stretch of the road south of the Norfolk border.
Speed restrictions will also be cut from 40mph to 30mph through Earl Stonham and Stonham Parva and in Brockford Street, and there will be a 40mph limit in Brome.
Rod Sore, the county council's safety engineer, said: "Our route management study for the A140 highlighted the problem of high speeds on this road and accident investigations over the past five years have also shown the need for lower speeds on the A140.
"If it gets approval, the speed limit will be monitored over a maximum period of 18 months to determine its effect on speed and accident reduction and if successful it will be made permanent."
Since 1997, there have been at least 193 accidents on the road in which people have suffered injuries – 10 of those have been fatal accidents and 36 have inflicted serious injuries.
The council's report said 44% of the accidents were rear-end shunts and about 70% happened at junctions and access roads.
"This indicates that drivers on the A140 are travelling too close and too fast for the conditions that exist along the road," it added.
The report said police had indicated concerns the proposal would be difficult to adequately enforce, although the force generally supported the experiment.
A spokesman for Suffolk police added: "We support any measure that improves road safety and will enforce any new speed limits as far as our resources will allow."
But Jeffrey Stansfield, a former county surveyor who has campaigned for improvements to the road, said: "The A140 and its many problems deserves better than this. It is cheap – and not in the least bit cheerful.
"The plans are entirely reliant on drivers observing road signs and using common sense. They are something of an improvement, but not a real improvement.
"I don't think they will have much impact at all on the basic, underlying problem – the dreadful alignment of the road and many of its junctions. There are stretches where visibility is poor and it is very dangerous."
Mr Stansfield added he would like to see stretches of the carriageway dualled for "frustrated" drivers to overtake.
Members of the council's rights of way and traffic management sub-committee will discuss the plans on September 4.
n The council is also planning to impose a number of new speed limits at various locations across the county.
The locations include sections of the A134 at Barnham, the B1115 in Chilton and Great Waldingfield, the A1092 (Lower Road) in Glemsford, the B1506 (Bury Road) in Kentford, the A134 (Sicklesmere Road) and the U7405 in Nowton and the A1304 in Newmarket.
There are also plans for a new 50mph speed limit on a 900-metre stretch of the B1113 at Great Blakenham. The new limits will be discussed at the September 4 meeting.