Petrol giant offers to pay for safety

PETROL giant BP today offered to pay towards safety improvements at a dual carriageway gap where a Felixstowe pensioner was killed in a crash.But the company said it had first made an offer to help pay for a scheme more than five years ago when council officials first proposed closing the gap.

PETROL giant BP today offered to pay towards safety improvements at a dual carriageway gap where a Felixstowe pensioner was killed in a crash.

But the company said it had first made an offer to help pay for a scheme more than five years ago when council officials first proposed closing the gap.

Highways chiefs at that stage decided not to proceed with the closure. It is understood not have been a priority then because there had been no serious accidents in Trinity Avenue.

Now it is hoped to put in place traffic lights at the gap, probably next year.

Terrence Warham, 80, died on Monday when his grey J-reg Rover 416 was in collision with a Scania articulated lorry tractor unit, which was in the outside lane overtaking another lorry slowing down to enter the filling station.

It is understood he was making an illegal manoeuvre at the time pulling out of Anzani Avenue – a one-way street in the opposite direction – after leaving the BP petrol station via its entrance, where there are "no exit" signs.

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BP spokesman Clive Kirkham said the company was deeply saddened by the tragedy and would be holding its own internal inquiry and working with the accident investigation team to try to ascertain exactly what happened.

Talks had been taking place with the county council for more than a year over a possible safety scheme for the junction – and the company had paid for consultants to look at the options.

"It is very sad that this accident has happened before any improvements were implemented. We now hope that a scheme can be put in place as soon as possible to avoid a further tragedy," he said.

BP had objected to the gap closure both in 1998 and in 2002, but not just because of the potential impact on business.

Mr Kirkham said customers at the filling station had supported the objection – many of them lorry drivers. The garage was used by car drivers, but heavily used by lorries going to and from the port.

"From our point of view safety is always the first priority. We do have concerns over inconvenience to our customers if the gap was closed but these are far outweighed by the safety issues at this site," said Mr Kirkham.

"We have had very positive dialogue with the county council and we hope the scheme on the table will be implemented. We have also offered to contribute towards its construction cost."

Many of the lorries make U-turns through the gap after leaving the filling station and truckstop to return to the port to collect or deliver loads.

The alternative would be to go onto the A14 and round the deathtrap dock spur roundabout and back to the port – an effect the county council fears closure of the gap would have – or travel through the business parks.

n What do you think is the answer to Trinity Avenue's problems? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 309 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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