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Experts seek dock spur solution

PUBLISHED: 13:46 14 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

TRAFFIC experts are examining the conclusions from a series of surveys at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout as they seek a safety solution.

The think tank, the Transport Road Laboratory (TRL) has been drafted in to help crack the problem of lorries flipping over on the junction.

TRAFFIC experts are examining the conclusions from a series of surveys at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout as they seek a safety solution.

The think tank, the Transport Road Laboratory (TRL) has been drafted in to help crack the problem of lorries flipping over on the junction.

Its experts have been taking traffic counts and measurements all around the A14 roundabout and looking at various ideas to stop the lorries crashing.

The TRL is expected to announce its findings soon and these will then be taken into account when local views on the Highways Agency's four options for the junction are analysed.

No timetable has yet been drawn up for when any work might be done at the blackspot – and the biggest battle may still be to come.

This will be the fight for finance and to persuade government officials that the junction – the busiest in Britain for lorries – is a top priority when judged against other notorious accident blackspots from all over Britain.

The TRL's work is understood to have included analysing more short-term safety measures which might be included in a final scheme.

All the options for the roundabout, used by 30,000 vehicles daily, include an earth embankment on the right-hand side at the entrance to the junction to restrict drivers' views as they approach and force them to slow down.

One suggestion has been that temporary fencing might be put up in the near future to test the theory ahead of an expensive earth mound operation.

Town councillors in Felixstowe and parish councillors at Trimley have identified their preferred options for making the junction safer.

The options were drawn up following a series of flip-over crashes which culminated in the accident in which motorist Martin O'Sullivan died when a lorry overturned and crushed his BMW car.

The options are to make the roundabout much smaller, to bring in speed limits, realign the approach road to force drivers to slow down to make a more pronounced turn, and a realignment and separation of lorries and cars heading for the town and port. Options are costed at between £120,000 and £385,000.

Town councillors feel either of the realignment schemes are acceptable and Trimley councillors have chosen the separation of traffic scheme.

The scheme to separate traffic is the only option which will ensure that if a lorry does flip over, it will not land on a car.

Present drawings show that a concrete barrier will force vehicles heading for the town and port into two lanes as they approach the junction and then keep them apart as they go round it, but it is felt that the same solution could be achieved with comparably inexpensive rumble strips or hatching.

The Highways Agency has already carried out £25,000 of work at the junction since the fatal crash, including putting in risk of overturning signs, chevrons, coloured road surfacing and strengthening rumble strips.

Weblink: www.highways.gov.uk

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