Campaigners hail EADT A120 campaign

ROAD safety campaigners last nightwelcomed the first victory in the East Anglian Daily Times' Action for the A120 campaign after improvements started on a notorious road bridge.

ROAD safety campaigners last nightwelcomed the first victory in the East Anglian Daily Times' Action for the A120 campaign after improvements started on a notorious road bridge.

Work has finally begun at the spot where 26-year-old motorcyclist Justin Barker died after being struck by falling debris from another accident as he rode along the A120 under the A133 bridge at Hare Green, Colchester, in September 2001.

Last night, his sister, Kathryn Kent, who with the EADT has battled to make the north Essex road safer said her two-and-a-half year struggle was now coming to an end.

She said: “When I was drove past the site on Monday morning and saw the Highways Agency truck with its flashing light there, my heart just leapt - I couldn't wait to get home and tell everyone what was going on.

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“They'd been fobbing me off for years and for most of that I felt like just another statistic, but now something is actually being done, I feel like it's a victory.

“The EADT and Ivan Henderson have been fantastic helping to bring it all together - I'd like to thank everyone.”

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An inquest into Mr Barker's death revealed the bridge had an incomplete weld and an expert was critical of its construction.

A year later the EADT launched its Action for the A120 campaign after a spate of road deaths, particularly on the dangerous stretch between Little Bromley and Harwich, which residents, councillors and MPs have demanded to be dualled

Last yeara petition was handed in on the floor of the House of Commons by Harwich MP Ivan Henderson.

But although Mrs Kent, of Main Road, Dovercourt, felt the new works meant the final chapter of despair was being closed, another one of hope was being opened.

“There's so much more I'd like to see done. Ideally, there should be a compulsory 50mph speed limit on that corner, but they don't want to do that.

“But the big thing is to get the A120 dualled - how many deaths will it take before that happens?” she asked.

Ivan Henderson, who is still working with ministers for further action on the road, said: “Mrs Kent has shown incredible courage since this terrible tragedy and I'm extremely pleased that the improvements that she and the EADT have been campaigning for have come to fruition.”

The £24,000 works are being made following an accident study undertaken on behalf of the Highways Agency, which was completed early last year 2003 and is one of a series of studies commissioned as a result of the A12 and A120 route management study.

These studies are looking at ways of reducing accidents on the A12/A120 by identifying low-cost measures that can be implemented quickly.

Highways Agency project manager, Roger Chenery said: “We will be putting into place measures to make the Hare Green junction safer for road users by raising drivers' awareness of the alignment of the slip roads and improving the approach to the A120 trunk road.”

Improvements include emphasising the sweep of the right hand bend and providing hazard marker posts on the nearside verge at the start of the bend to the bridge parapet.

Some of the planting on the offside approach to the bridge will also be removed to improve visibility as well as painting slow down warning signals on the road.

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