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Gaps still open despite tragedy

PUBLISHED: 23:00 05 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:57 03 March 2010

LORRIES can today still make dangerous right-turns across fast-moving traffic on a dual carriageway - a year after highways chiefs pledged to make it safer.

LORRIES can today still make dangerous right-turns across fast-moving traffic on a dual carriageway – a year after highways chiefs pledged to make it safer.

Locked gates to stop virtually all vehicles using a gap in the central reservation were promised last summer after much-loved Melton couple Edward and Pamela Bishopp were killed in an horrific crash.

The gates are still not in place and may now not be there until the end of the year – three years after the couple died.

Parish councillors are increasingly frustrated the gap has not been closed and have warned that every day it remains open there is the risk of another death.

The Evening Star launched a campaign to have the gap closed and the county council admits action is desperately needed, but the wheels of bureaucracy – unlike the A12 traffic – grind extremely slowly.

At long last the council says it is making progress and hopes to have the gates in place by the end of the year.

It has published a traffic order outlining how vehicles will be prevented from using Kennels Road, which joins the A12 opposite the gap at Brightwell.

An environment and transport department spokeswoman said people had until the end of June to comment on the order.

Providing there are no objections or objections received are resolved, the scheme's design would be completed and work start in four months.

But if there are objections which cannot be solved a council committee would review the situation in August and the work then start in about December.

"This has been a complex issue to solve and the council is working as quickly as possible through the procedures," said the spokeswoman.

"It is a very dangerous junction with a lot of lorries using it as short-cut and turning right through the gap to head to Seven Hills. We have already had one terrible crash there and it is an accident waiting to happen."

The scheme will involve placing new locked gates in Kennels Road at the crossroads which forms the last place the road can be entered on the west side of the A12, while old existing gates will be locked at the A12 junction.

Only the residents of three houses on the east part of Kennels Road and two farmers will have keys to unlock the gates.

Highways chiefs are confident this will remove all of the danger and will mean the gap in the central reservation is virtually unused.

The gap cannot be closed because it is still a public right of way. The council will have to ensure a bridleway – large enough for a horse but not a small car – and footpath is kept open next to the gates.

Retired chartered accountant Mr Bishopp, 74, and his wife, 73, were travelling in their Honda Accord when it crashed with a coal lorry going across the road from the gap.

n What do you think? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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