Crash site work 'not enough'

CAMPAIGNERS who fought for improvements at a notorious accident blackspot claimed last night a £30,000 safety scheme has merely "shifted the problem" further along the road.

CAMPAIGNERS who fought for improvements at a notorious accident blackspot claimed last night a £30,000 safety scheme has merely "shifted the problem" further along the road.

Residents living near the A11 at Mildenhall say lazy motorists have begun performing risky U-turns along the route since the closure of the hazardous Tuddenham junction.

Initial calls for action began more than two years ago following the death of two pensioners, who were killed within just three months of each other while attempting to cross all four lanes of the road.

But attempts to end the carnage by closing the hazardous junction have only moved the problem, campaigners say.

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Brian Bowers, whose 79-year-old mother Christine was killed as she attempted to pull out into the central reservation of the A11, said yesterday he believed it was only a matter of time before someone else was killed on the dual carriageway - and warned drivers would be to blame.

And yesterday, the EADT witnessed four drivers performing U-turns on the roadway in just 15 minutes - one of which, who completed the manoeuvre directly in front of a police car, was given a £30 fine.

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"The road is still completely littered with cones and debris from the work that has been carried out there, and vehicles are making dangerous u-turns to get back onto the A11 towards Mildenhall," said Mr Bowers, of Methwold, near Thetford.

The scheme to close the cross-over junction, which included the introduction of a 50mph speed limit between Chalk Hill and Barton Mills, has been criticised by local residents who say the safety measures are ineffective.

Tuddenham Parish Council chairman Rona Burt, who launched a campaign for safety improvements on the road, said progress was slow with the road remaining a "complete mess".

"I think people are still very concerned with the safety issues along that stretch of road, and drivers are not taking enough care and do not adhere to the 50mph speed limit," she said.

"It took so long to get the work started and I just hope that it will all be worth it in the long-run. But only time will tell what difference the improvements have made."

A second elderly driver - Betty Upchurch, 73, of Mildenhall - was killed while trying to cross all four lanes of the A11 just weeks after Mrs Bowers' death

"It just seems as though the Highways Agency is feeding us one excuse after another, and we are just lucky that no one else has lost their life along that road," added Mr Bowers.

And Pc Mick Marlow, who issued the fine to the driver yesterday, said performing a u-turn in the middle of a dual carriageway is highly dangerous as it takes much longer than driving straight across the junction.

"The gentleman I stopped said he was not from the area, and didn't see the signs warning motorists that making a u-turn is prohibited, despite the fact they are clearly visible," he said.

"It is an extremely dangerous manoeuvre to make and we try to monitor the area as often as possible, although this does not seem to stop drivers from turning around in the road.

"I think closing the cross-over at the Tuddenham junction was a positive move as it was a very dangerous stretch of road, although I do feel as though the problem may just have been shifted further down the carriageway."

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: "The improvements to the junction are now finished and we are currently working on installing a footpath.

"There are signs up indicating that u-turns are strictly prohibited. Over the next few months we will continue to monitor the issue and will consider if further action needs to be taken to implement more safety measures."

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