Essex: Raft of road measures needed for A12

A ROAD safety expert has warned speed cameras alone will not cut accidents on the A12 as new plans to slow down drivers were revealed.

The Highways Agency said it is considering plans to introduce average speed cameras at the Kelvedon bypass in a bid to improve what has been dubbed Britain’s worst road.

A spokesman for the agency said “proposals to install average speed cameras on the A12 at Hughes Corner in Suffolk and Kelvedon Bypass” were being consdiered and added: “We will develop the plans as and when funding becomes available.”

Essex Police has welcomed the move, saying anything that can enhance driver behaviour will help bring down road accidents.

But head of roads policy at the AA, Paul Watters, said a whole raft of measures would be needed to make the A12 a safer place to drive.

He said: “It would need to be examined in more detail but it would not be on the top of my priority list. Ideally, we need to have a range of measures, including engineering improvements - it’s a very old road. Drivers expect roads to be consistent and in terms of quality when you come off the M25 onto the A12 you are greeted by a sub-standard road.

“You also need more police patrols, but of course all these things cost money.”

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In 2008, Essex County Council led an inquiry tasked with improving congestion along the road which runs

north-east from London, through Essex and Suffolk and up to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

Mr Watters said: “Cameras will not solve the capacity weakness of the road or its poor alignment in places, but it would perhaps bring a great level of compliance which may stop the minority of drivers that do speed.”

But casualty reduction manager at Essex Police Adam Pipe said there was little wrong with the road and it was down to drivers to improve their behaviour.

“The number of road casualties on the A12 has reduced from 334 in 2005 to 193 in 2011,” he said. “This drop is a result of dramatic investment on road resurfacing, widening and increased lighting, by the Highways Agency.

“There is very little wrong with the road but we need the people who use it to take more care over their own driving behaviour so we support any measures, including average speed cameras, which can help with this.”

Last week, drivers were hit with lengthy delays after five accidents, two including lorries, in one day caused chaos on the A12.

Mr Pipe said new road scanning equipment, which uses a laser to the scene of an accident, should help reduce the amount of time a road is closed after a serious accident.

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