Poor safety rating for notorious road

SAFETY standards on a notorious Suffolk road have been criticised in a government-backed report that rated parts of the A140 between Norwich and Ipswich as 'inferior'.

SAFETY standards on a notorious Suffolk road have been criticised in a government-backed report that rated parts of the A140 between Norwich and Ipswich as 'inferior'.

The survey, carried out by the Institute for Advanced Motorists working with the Highways Agency, awarded ratings of one to four stars based on safety, with the A140 achieving the lowest rank in several areas.

The road has long been considered one of the most dangerous roads in the region, being heavily-used and single-carriageway for most of its length.

No section of the road was awarded four stars, with the separation of oncoming traffic being picked out for particular criticism.

However Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for highways, said accidents had been reduced in the last two years thanks to safety measures taken by the council.

He said: “In the last two years there have been no fatal accidents on the A140 in Suffolk, and that is down to work we have done.

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“We have introduced lower speed limits and danger spots and improved safety at junctions.

“It seems we are doing a good job with the resources we have available.”

However he said that cuts in funding from central government meant that less and less money is available in the face of calls for increased spending on safety.

He said: “In real cash terms we are facing a cut of £700,000 in the money available for us as the highway authority to spend on the Al40 in the next year.

“We will have to work smarter to look at where we can make savings.”

Within the last decade there have been 57 fatal accidents on the Suffolk stretch of the road, where speed limits vary between 30mp and 70mph.

STAR ratings in the Institute for Advanced Motorists report were awarded on the basis of design features of the road which would, in the event of an accident, reduce the chance of the victim being severely injured or killed.

They were also judged on features of the road designed to cut down on head-on collisions by separating oncoming lanes of traffic, referred to as the 'median' score.

And the third category which was assessed was the quality of the road's junctions.

Most of the A140 between Ipswich and Norwich received just one star in the median category.

The junctions were mostly awarded three stars at the Suffolk end of the road and two stars at the Norfolk end.

And the pattern for the road protection score was roughly the same - three stars for Suffolk and two stars for Norfolk.

The Evening Star together with sister paper the Norwich Evening News launched a campaign to improve safety on the road several years ago. The Lets Make It Safer initiative was started after figures showed there had been 876 accidents on the road in 25 years.

The A12 between Ipswich and London, and the A14 between Ipswich and Cambridge, both received 3 or 4 stars along their entire length, in the three assessed categories.

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