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Fatal road crossing still a danger

PUBLISHED: 13:45 02 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

DESPITE the growing pressure to close the gap on the A12 where a much-loved elderly couple were killed in an horrific crash, highways chiefs still cannot say when the work will be carried out.

DESPITE the growing pressure to close the gap on the A12 where a much-loved elderly couple were killed in an horrific crash, highways chiefs still cannot say when the work will be carried out.

The Evening Star has highlighted the notoriously dangerous opening in the dual carriageway's central reservation many times in the seven months since the accident but council officials have not even taken temporary action to stop traffic using it.

They say they are making progress towards sealing the gap – but that progress is too slow for the campaigners, who fear that every day it remains open someone else could die.

There was an outcry when Edward and Pamela Bishopp were killed when their car was in collision with a lorry at the gap in the A12 at Brightwell, near to the turning for Foxhall.

It had been expected that a temporary closure to prevent further accidents would have been carried out when the county council took over the road four months ago.

Today, the authority said it still could NOT say when the closure would happen.

Traffic safety manager at the council, David Chenery said it was not possible to give a timetable for the work as consultation and negotiations were still taking place and it was not yet known when these would be completed.

He said: "We inherited a number of schemes for the trunk road when we took it over from the Highways Agency and we are using our resources to the best effect that we can.

"We are dealing with the most urgent projects first and the scheme to close this gap in the central reservation is high on the programme.

"Consultation is continuing with some parties who could be affected by this move in order to take on board their views and we are aiming to seal the gap at the earliest possible time."

Melton couple Mr Bishopp, 74, a retired chartered accountant, and his wife, 73, were travelling in their blue Honda Accord when it crashed with a coal lorry that was going across the road from a gap in the central reservation. Mr and Mrs Bishopp, who had been married 56 years, were well-known in their local community. They were very involved in local charity and voluntary work.

The gap at Kennels Lane enables drivers to make a right turn onto the busy dual carriageway out of the side road, but they have to cross four lanes of fast-moving traffic while moving quite slowly.

But campaigners argue that there is no need for the gap between the Foxhall roundabout and the Seven Hills interchange to remain and motorists would just have to put up with a detour to either roundabout to make their turn.

Parish councillors say if no compromise can be found, then the solution might be to have an underpass or a flyover at the site for farm vehicles, though this would be costly.

To close the gap, orders will also have to be made to ensure the county council complies will all necessary legislation.

Once these formalities have been gone through, contractors can be employed to carry out the work of extending the crash barriers to seal the gap.

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