Motorist killed in A140 smash

A VAN driver has been killed in an horrific accident on the A140, bringing the death toll on the notorious Suffolk stretch of the road to 83 in just over 20 years.

A VAN driver has been killed in an horrific accident on the A140, bringing the death toll on the notorious Suffolk stretch of the road to 83 in just over 20 years.

Campaigners last night called on Suffolk County Council to do more to improve its section of the road after it emerged many more people had died on its stretch than in neighbouring Norfolk's.

Since 1987, when comparable records were first available, 55 people have lost their lives on the A140 in Suffolk, in contrast to 38 on the road in Norfolk.

People living and working along the Suffolk stretch believe more needs to be done to prevent further deaths. Suffolk has recently opted for slower speeds and junction improvements to boost safety, while Norfolk has built a number of bypasses.

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There was a scene of utter devastation in Suffolk again yesterday after an accident left a bread van driver dead and a lorry driver seriously injured in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

The crash happened at around 5.50am, close to the junction of the A1120, and the A140 near Creeting Bottoms was closed for more than 12 hours and diversions set up.

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The van driver is believed to be from the Norwich area and Acting Sergeant Colin Curtis, of Suffolk police, said: "It is as yet unknown exactly what happened, but we hope when we speak to witnesses we will be able to put the pieces together."

Tony Fowler, who lives close to the accident scene and represents the village as its mid Suffolk district councillor, said his thoughts were with the family of the man killed.

He added: "It seems the only way to get things kick started is if there are serious tragedies. If we had half a dozen like this perhaps people will get off their backsides and do something positive like making the road suitable for the traffic it carries.

"A village bypass has got to be the way to achieve that, we need the people to wake up and have something done about this road now, before more people die.''

But Adrian Gunson, a Norfolk county councillor with responsibility for roads, said Suffolk had had virtually no major improvements to its stretch of the A140 in 20 years.

He said the Norfolk stretch has had two villages' bypassed in that time – Scole and Dickleburgh – and is hoping to get Long Stratton bypassed.

Mr Gunson said: "I was very sorry to learn about this fatality and it is far too early to draw conclusions. But there is a great difference in the number of deaths in the two counties.

"The only answer is to make improvements to the road with bypasses for villages and right turning lanes. I do not believe Suffolk has made the A140 one of their priorities and I find it difficult to accept that the A140 in Suffolk does not need major improvements.''

Suffolk county councillor Peter Monk, portfolio holder for road safety, said he was saddened to hear of the death.

But he believed the road was far safer since the blanket 50mph speed limit – along with slower speeds in villages – was introduced on the Suffolk stretch.

He said: "You have to look at the figures since we took the over responsibility for the road two or three years ago.

"Since we brought in lower speed limits there has been a dramatic reduction and, in fact, this is the first fatality unfortunately. There were none during 2004 on the A140 and only about two or so serious accidents.

"This latest accident is devastating to everyone, but since we took over we immediately started putting in safety measures.

"We have had very successful speed limit reductions and have put in extra high visibility white paint markings, improved junctions, signs to make people far more aware and speed cameras, which are an aid to road safety.''

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