East Suffolk: Crash figures fuel A12 bypass calls
ACCIDENTS are nearly four times more likely to happen on a notorious stretch of the A12 that campaigners want bypassed than on other parts of the road, new figures suggest.
The EADT is running a campaign to call for action on a long-awaited relief road for four traffic-choked villages on the A12, running from Wickham Market to the Friday Street junction at Benhall.
And latest figures show there have been many more accidents causing injury on the dangerous stretch in the past five years than on an adjoining A12 bypass.
Between 2005 and 2010, there were 36 accidents on the 4.2-mile (6.9kms) stretch between the Wickham Market junction and the B1094 junction at Benhall in which someone was injured, four of which involved “serious” injuries.
Over the same period, there were just 10 injury accidents on the 4.1 miles (6.6kms) of dual carriageway immediately to the south of the stretch – the Wickham Market bypass – with just one classed as “serious”.
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Campaigners have been promised action on the narrow stretch for decades – an agreed scheme was axed at the eleventh hour in 1996 – and are continuing to push for improvements. They say increasing traffic over the years has put an intolerable strain on the villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham, where there is a particularly sharp bend.
Many people have been killed or injured on the road going back over the past three decades.
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Debbi Tayler, clerk of Farnham with Stratford St Andrew Parish Council, said the latest accident figures did not come as a surprise.
“It goes to demonstrate just how dangerous this part of the road is,” she said.
“It’s important to stress these figures don’t include minor accidents and near-misses and damage to houses and properties.
“We have been putting up with this for many years and it all shows how desperately we need this relief road.”
Judith Spatchett, who lives on the Farnham bend and has campaigned for the bypass for more than 25 years, said the figures strengthened the case for the road. “We’ve lived here so long we know how bad it is – it’s not surprising there are so many more accidents. Huge lorries come past here and they don’t always keep to the speed limit.”
Hundreds of people have backed the EADT’s campaign Bypass 4 The Villages, which aims to improve the quality of life for people living along the notorious stretch.
Suffolk County Council, which owns the road, wants to build the road but says that under the current economic climate it is unlikely to secure funding for the project, which is estimated at more than �50million.
Many villagers believe the best chance of securing money for the project is through energy giant EDF, which is hoping to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell.
If it gets the go-ahead, it will be expected to contribute to local transport schemes to the expected rise in traffic and campaigners are keen to ensure the four villages bypass is a priority. EDF has said it will listen to the concerns of local people.
To support the campaign, fill in the coupon or sign the online petition at www.eadt.co.uk/bypass4thevillages.