Suffolk: Safety improvements slash accident numbers on the A140

Speed limits appear to have worked on the A140 in Suffolk

Speed limits appear to have worked on the A140 in Suffolk

SAFETY improvements on the A140 have slashed the number of fatalities by more than a half since the 1990s - with the 50mph speed limit proving a watershed for the Suffolk stretch of the road.

A140 accidents

A140 accidents - Credit: Archant

The blanket 50mph limit between the junction with the A14 at Coddenham and the Norfolk border at Scole was introduced in June 2004.

Since then there have been just five fatalities on the Suffolk stretch of the A140 and 27 serious injuries. This is compared to seven fatalities and 25 serious injuries in just four years between 1999 and 2003.

On the other side of the county border, there has also been a significant fall in the number of fatalities and serious injuries – although the most significant fall here came after 2007.

The 50mph speed limit was introduced on the A140 in June 2004 on a temporary basis by the former Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition at the county council.

It was confirmed as a permanent feature of the road in late 2005 by the new Conservative administration after it became clear that the move had reduced the number of accidents.

Current LibDem group leader David Wood was one of those who pressed for the 50mph limit and worked with then county transport spokesman Peter Monk to bring it in.

Most Read

He said: “I said to Peter that we had to do something – when I was a firefighter I was called to that road far too often, I saw some dreadful things there.

“I know some people were unhappy about the speed limit coming in, but you only have to look at the statistics. It has made the road much safer.”

Current county transport spokesman, Guy McGregor, pushed through the permanent orders which confirmed the 50mph limit at the end of 2005.

He said: “It has made a tremendous difference. The A140 used to have the reputation as the most dangerous road in East Anglia and the number of deaths and serious injuries have fallen significantly.

“I knew someone who was killed on the road, it was extremely dangerous and the speed limit combined with changes to junctions and other measures has improved it significantly.”

North of the county border there is no blanket 50mph limit – but there have been road improvements aimed at improving safety.

The most significant of these was the construction of a £1.5million roundabout at Pulham Market which opened in 2009.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said before it was built there had been 31 people injured – five seriously – in 18 accidents over the previous ten years.

They had also overlaid the old concrete surface on the dual carriageway Scole bypass with asphalt. And there were changes at Dunston, near Norwich, where there is now a 40mph limit over the railway bridge.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter