Call for urgent action on

By Sarah ChambersFRESH calls were made last night for urgent improvements to an "unsafe" stretch of the A12 following the latest in a spate of deaths on the road.

By Sarah Chambers

FRESH calls were made last night for urgent improvements to an "unsafe" stretch of the A12 following the latest in a spate of deaths on the road.

A motorcyclist from the Woodbridge area and a woman from Colchester died and another man was badly hurt after a motorcycle and a car were involved in a horrific crash on the A12 at Yoxford on Friday evening.

The double fatality brought the death toll on a nine-mile stretch of the A12 between Little Glemham and Darsham to seven in the past 13 months.

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Parish and district councillors expressed horror and sadness at the latest accident - and repeated calls for the road, which has been de-trunked and is now the responsibility of Suffolk County Council, to be returned to the Highways Agency's control.

The county council, which introduced lower speed limits along the road last year to help improve safety, said it would look at the cause of the latest accident and promised to act swiftly to make any modifications deemed necessary.

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The male motorcyclist, who was aged 24 and from the Woodbridge area, was travelling south when his Yamaha 600cc motorbike was involved in a collision with a Citroen Saxo Desire at 7pm at the southern-most end of a long 40mph buffer zone leading into the village of Yoxford.

The motorcyclist and a woman passenger in the car, aged 23 and from Colchester, both died in the collision. Suffolk police have declined to name either of the dead people.

The male driver, from Beccles, was taken to Ipswich Hospital with burn injuries and was described last night as being in a serious condition.

Barry Slater, Suffolk Coastal district councillor for the Yoxford ward, said he was "appalled and horrified" by the accident and called for the road to be re-trunked.

"I have said many times that anybody who uses the A12 north of Ipswich knows that it is inadequate and unsafe," he added.

"I think it was disastrous that it was ever de-trunked and it's in serious need of upgrading and I don't think it's any solution to introduce a series of arbitrary speed limits and think you have solved the problem.

"It urgently needs seriously upgrading, re-trunking and a major programme of dualling and bypasses."

Peter Chaloner, chairman of Little Glemham Parish Council, an area hoping to be bypassed by the A12, said it was an important strategic and busy route that was carrying ever-increasing amounts of traffic.

"I do think it's a dangerous road and I think the Government has tried to avoid the problem by de-trunking it," he added.

"I think it should never have been de-trunked because traffic will always take the shortest route to their destination and people who have always used it in the past will continue to do so and de-trunking won't change that.

"Speed limits really only reduce the number and severity of accidents. I don't think they are really addressing the problem that the road is carrying too much traffic for its design."

Richard Smith, chairman of Saxmundham Town Council, said he would like to see the road re-adopted by the Highways Agency.

"I think the whole of the road between Ipswich and Lowestoft since it has been in control of it has been made far worse," he added.

Mr Smith criticised the new lower speed limits introduced last year, which he felt had led to bunching and driver frustration.

Suffolk county councillor Peter Monk, its cabinet member with responsibility for road safety, said it would look at the causes of the latest accident.

"One accident is an accident too many in my view. We will be getting a report from the police about the accident and will be looking at it and if something needs doing it will be done," he added.

Mr Monk said since taking over responsibility for the A12 the county council had implemented safety improvements after wide consultation.

"Roads are only dangerous because of the users on them. Roads in themselves do not have accidents. I'll listen to anybody, but please tell me will you accept major schemes and tell me where the money is coming from," he added.

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