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MP asked to boost safety campaign

PUBLISHED: 23:00 14 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

MP JOHN Gummer is to be asked to step in to help the battle for proper safety action at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout.

Villagers have vowed to keep on campaigning until major work is done at the notorious junction - and say measures taken so far are inadequate.

MP JOHN Gummer is to be asked to step in to help the battle for proper safety action at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout.

Villagers have vowed to keep on campaigning until major work is done at the notorious junction – and say measures taken so far are inadequate.

Both Trimley councils have discussed the A14 roundabout again and expressed disappointment at the proposals to put more paint on the roadway to try to persuade lorry drivers to slow down.

Trimley St Martin Parish Council has agreed to write to Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer to ask him to intervene and put pressure on the Highways Agency to carry out substantial safety work.

Meanwhile, Trimley St Mary Parish Council is writing to the agency to ask once again if there can be a physical separation of the traffic travelling to the port and the town so that if a lorry flips over, it will not land on a car.

There have now been 17 accidents in six years of lorries rolling over and three incidents in the past six months.

Last week a 38-tonne truck tipped on to its right-hand side wheels as it tried to turn left from the port to Ipswich and careered across the junction and overturned on the verge just before the entrance from Ipswich.

The worst happened a year ago when motorist Martin O'Sullivan was crushed to death in his car when a juggernaut toppled on to it as it turned right to the port.

Highways chiefs though insist there is no problem with the roundabout and the crashes are down to driver error, faulty vehicles and poor loading.

Trimley St Mary councillors say the proposed £35,000 scheme to change some road markings, paint 20mph advisory lorry speed limits on the carriageway and add some new signs, "seem inadequate to make any impression on the problem" of lorries flipping over.

It says a transport route has immense value to the national economy deserves better, and has asked when major improvements will take place.

Councillors could also see little point in a 20mph limit which could not be enforced – and suggested that it was made law so that speed cameras could be put in place and truckers prosecuted.

The cameras would quickly pay for themselves and would definitely make drivers slow down.

Highways chiefs, who have said the roundabout will be monitored for a year after this autumn's work before any further action is taken, such as secret speed signs which flash when people go over the limit, say some crashes have happened when lorries have been going less than 20mph.

They are adamant that the real problem is not the design of the junction but goods inside poorly-loaded containers shifting and causing the lorries to topple.

They are pledging to work with the ports and UK manufacturers to try to improve loading and curb the crashes.

Another fears is that major work to change the roundabout's design could solve the problems, but may create new types of accidents elsewhere on the junction.

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