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Dock spur lorry driver has lucky escape

PUBLISHED: 18:00 05 June 2002 | UPDATED: 15:27 03 March 2010

A LORRY driver had a lucky escape today after his juggernaut swerved across a busy junction and flipped over on Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout.

A LORRY driver had a lucky escape today after his juggernaut swerved across a busy junction and flipped over on Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout.

Police who witnessed the rush-hour accident – the 17th similar incident at the spot in six years – said it was amazing that there was not a major pile-up after the 38-tonne truck tipped on to its right-hand side wheels and careered across the junction.

The driver tried to haul the vehicle back onto its full set of wheels but it then tipped the other way and overturned.

The trucker – who has not been named – was treated at the scene for a cut to his back and shock, and was taken to Ipswich Hospital to be checked over.

It was the third incident in the past six months at that spot.

Highways chiefs have carried out ten months of research into the accidents and say there is no problem with the roundabout and the crashes are down to driver error, faulty vehicles and poor loading.

Pc Paul Smith, who saw today's accident happen, said it was amazing that it had not been more serious.

"We were just coming out of Felixstowe when we saw the lorry coming up from the port and it was on one set of wheels," said Pc Smith.

"It came across the roundabout carriageway on which traffic travels to Ipswich and then went over onto its other side on the verge. It is too early to say what happened but we are investigating."

The Volvo articulated lorry, which had a 40ft container full of trampolines, which did not break open, had been intending to turn left to Ipswich but landed on the verge between the Ipswich exit and entrance to the junction from Ipswich.

The road was not blocked, though police would be staying with the lorry – owned by Sheffield based Newell and Wright – until heavy lifting gear could be brought in to right it.

Felixstowe town and district councillor Andy Smith passed the accident seconds after it happened.

"If I had not been a couple of minutes late I would have been on that road when the lorry came across it – it's only by the grace of God that no-one was on that road and we have not had a fatal here today," he said.

"This accident simply underlines the total inadequacy of the highways agency's response to the problem.

"They have a responsibility for human life at this junction and if accidents are one in a million, as they say, everyone in Felixstowe would have won the National Lottery by now. The community has a right to expect better."

The Highways Agency has shelved plans for major improvements at the roundabout and is planning this autumn to carry out another £35,000 scheme to improve road markings.

This will involve painting advisory speed markings on the carriageway – 20mph on the Felixstowe approach to the roundabout and 30mph on the port exit road – and new hatching at Candlet Road exit to separate traffic going to the docks and town centre and improve the driving line for vehicles turning right.

The agency is planning to work with the police and haulage industry to try to improve the loading of containers.

WEBLINKS: www.highways.gov.uk

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