Dockspur is now beyond a joke
IT'S gone beyond a joke.And the odds on someone else being killed – a family being crushed to death in their car – by a toppling juggernaut at Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout are shortening by the day.
By Richard Cornwell
By RICHARD CORNWELL
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IT'S gone beyond a joke.
And the odds on someone else being killed – a family being crushed to death in their car – by a toppling juggernaut at Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout are shortening by the day.
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Highways chiefs say the chance of a lorry rolling over at the A14 junction is "one in a million" or even two million.
But now there have been four incidents of trucks flipping over or shedding their loads in the past six months, which has cut the odds by the Highway Agency's reckoning to a quarter of what they were.
On the junction's current track record, one in every 250,000 lorries will roll over – not one in every million trucks.
People are now terrified of lorries at this roundabout. They will not drive near them – and will certainly not get on the inside of them.
One driver told the Evening Star this week that as he approached the roundabout from Ipswich, he found two lorries on his outside and so slowed right up to let them go.
"But this driver behind me started hooting his horn and gesticulating – I can only think he wasn't local and didn't know the risks," said the man.
"There was no way I was going round on the inside of a lorry, but he was getting very angry behind me and I was scared."
But the big issue is still the lack of real action to deal with the safety problems at this roundabout, especially with its worsening accident record.
The simple wooden cross on the verge in memory of motorist Martin O'Sullivan, who was killed when a lorry landed on his BMW, is surely testament enough to its dangers.
This week's accident when a lorry overturned as it headed from the port and turned left could have seen a similar fatal crash. It was rush-hour and it was a miracle that no-one was on its inside.
Last month, police officers watched amazed as a juggernaut careered across the road and overturned – again incredibly missing other traffic.
And just two months ago a lorry shed a five-ton piece of machinery, which landed plumb in the inside lane, exactly where Mr O'Sullivan died.
But the Highways Agency continues to insist there is no problem with the roundabout and the crashes are due to driver error, sometimes speed, faulty vehicles and poor loading.
The agency says major work to the roundabout is unlikely because the cost cannot be justified – ignoring the opinion of councillors, community groups, residents and this newspaper.
Instead, it is to go on tinkering with the junction, slapping a bit more paint on the road surface, adding more signs, hoping juggernaut drivers will obey an advisory 20mph limit. But that is not good enough by a long chalk.
How many more people are going to be killed or injured – like the trucker who suffered serious head and shoulder injuries this week – before action is taken?
The Highways Agency needs to ask how much a life is worth? The answer is that a life is priceless.