One dock spur solution is easy, claim
PUT back the "give way" lines – that's the simple and straight forward solution to stop some of the crashes at Felixstowe's dock spur roundabout.Campaigners say the answer to the problems of lorries overturning as they turn right at the junction is more difficult, but dealing with those flipping over as they go left from the port is easy.
By Richard Cornwell
PUT back the "give way" lines – that's the simple and straight forward solution to stop some of the crashes at Felixstowe's dock spur roundabout.
Campaigners say the answer to the problems of lorries overturning as they turn right at the junction is more difficult, but dealing with those flipping over as they go left from the port is easy.
"The latest accident is the second in succession turning left to Ipswich and the answer is very simple, costs nothing and should be done immediately – just put back the give way lines," said town and district councillor Andy Smith.
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"It doesn't need consideration, it doesn't need reports, it is very simple and straight forward and just needs action.
"The free-flow of traffic at junctions is fine but not where it causes a risk to the public, as it does here."
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There have been 18 accidents in six years of lorries rolling over or shedding their loads at the A14 junction – and four incidents in the past six months.
The two most recent have seen lorries turning from the port towards Ipswich roll over, both narrowly avoiding landing on other cars using the A14 junction.
In the accident this week, the truck driver suffered severe head and shoulder injuries and was trapped in his crumpled cab for nearly an hour while firefighters worked to cut him free.
Two SARS doctors – Felixstowe-based Maarten de Cleen and Karol Silovski – were on the scene within ten minutes and administered fluids, oxygen and morphine to the driver, understood to be a local man in his 40s.
Lorries coming from the port have a dedicated left turn lane and so do not have to stop at the junction.
But until 1996 there were "give way" lines at the junction which meant lorries had to be going reasonably slowly in case they had to stop and give way – as was often the case with much traffic travelling from Felixstowe towards Ipswich.
"We should challenge the Highways Agency to get these white lines in place and do it quickly," said Mr Smith.
"Twice in the past month we have seen what a risk there is to the public at this point and it is amazing that no-one has been killed.
"Everyone in the town is scared to go through that junction both in and out bound."
The right-turn accidents – like the one in which motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed when a lorry toppled and crushed his BMW – needed a different solution.
However, Mr Smith believed there was some minor work which could be done easily and without great cost.
"At the start, the Highways Agency was talking of putting fencing up, and perhaps later an earth mound, to restrict driver's visibility to the right as they approached from Ipswich, to make them slow right down," he said.
"This now seems to have been discarded and no-one has explained why. I understand it has been used on at least one other major junction where lorries were rolling over and has been a success."
Highways chiefs insist there is no problem with the roundabout and the crashes are down to driver error, faulty vehicles and poor loading.
They are proposing this autumn to spend around £35,000 on the roundabout to change some road markings, paint 20mph advisory lorry speed limits on the carriageway and add some new signs.
n The headline in a story published in yesterday's Evening Star should have referred to the dock spur junction and not to Felixstowe Port. We apologise for the error.