Campaigners criticise road safety work
By Liz HearnshawCAMPAIGNERS have criticised highways bosses for failing to introduce effective improvements along a notorious stretch of road that claimed the lives of two pensioners in the space of a few weeks.
By Liz Hearnshaw
CAMPAIGNERS have criticised highways bosses for failing to introduce effective improvements along a notorious stretch of road that claimed the lives of two pensioners in the space of a few weeks.
Residents had lobbied the Highways Agency for the closure of a danger junction on the A11 at Tuddenham, which officials pledged would be finished by mid-September.
But they claimed the £30,000 programme - which includes lowering the speed limit to 50mph between Chalk Hill and Barton Mills - had yet to be completed, with cones and debris still littering the road.
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They also alleged drivers now performed u-turns further along the A11 as a result of the safety measures, making the road more hazardous.
Brian Bowers, whose 79-year-old mother Christina was killed at the junction almost two years ago, said: “It seems like the Highways Agency started the work just to keep the media and campaigners quiet, but it has not been finished and nothing has been done for weeks.
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“It is unacceptable. I pass through that stretch of road every morning and night, and it makes me shudder. I keep expecting to see workmen there completing the job, but I haven't seen anyone for weeks.
“It is nearly two years now since my mother was killed and we are still waiting. All that has been done is cones have been put up and the central reservation has been smashed.”
He added: “There seems to be excuse after excuse and I think it is atrocious. It is turning to winter, when the roads become icy and wet, leading to slippery conditions and I just hope and pray no-one else is injured or killed there.
“It is something you never forget. It is always with you and I dread another accident happening. It seems so unnecessary.”
Mr Bowers said the new speed limit, introduced at the start of September, was having no effect and could not be enforced without cameras - a view supported by Rona Burt, who serves on Forest Heath District Council.
She said: “I do not quite understand what is going on. There are cones all over the place and the Highways Agency said the work, which started on September 1, would only take three weeks. I have not seen any workmen at the site for weeks.
“I don't think the 50mph speed limit is working at all as people still come down the roadway very fast and we have been told by the police that limits cannot be enforced without a camera.”
A second driver, Betty Upchurch, 73, from Mildenhall, was killed while trying to cross all four lanes of the A11 just weeks after Mrs Bowers' death.
The deaths prompted residents to begin campaigning for safety measures - with the £30,000 scheme finally unveiled by the Highways Agency earlier this year.
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency described the issues surrounding the road as “sensitive”, but was unable to comment on the current situation.