Port offers to pay for Dockspur safety
PORT chiefs have offered to help pay for extra safety work at Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout.The port – Britain's top container terminal – is not offering to pay for a major schemes costing hundreds of thousands, but is offering to contribute towards extra action above what the highways authorities are proposing.
PORT chiefs have offered to help pay for extra safety work at Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout.
The port – Britain's top container terminal – is not offering to pay for a major schemes costing hundreds of thousands, but is offering to contribute towards extra action above what the highways authorities are proposing.
No decision has been made yet on whether to accept the dock company's offer, and talks are still continuing.
Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said the company had been keen to see some quick action to try to stem the problems of lorries en route to the terminal flipping over when turning right at the A14 junction.
"We are disappointed it has taken so long to get to this point. We are talking to the Highways Agency as to how we can help to get further measures introduced there," said Mr Davey.
"We have told them we would be willing to contribute to the cost of additional work as a way of working with them."
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The agency is planning to spend around £30,000 this autumn painting advisory speed markings on the carriageway – 20mph on the Felixstowe approach and 30mph on the port exit road – and new hatching at Candlet Road exit to separate traffic going to the docks and town centre and improve the driving line.
It has no plans for major work, despite three schemes being drawn up, because it does not believe the roundabout to be the main cause of the roll-over crashes.
A report from the Transport Research Laboratory says while speed may be a factor – though most lorries which crash are only going slowly – the main reasons for the accidents are poor loading and vehicle defects.
The agency wants to work in partnership with the police, port and Road Haulage Association to solve the loading problems and bring prosecutions in future accidents, which happen to one in every million lorries which use the junction.
Jamie Hassall, project manager for the Highways Agency, said talks about the port helping with extra measures were still taking place.
"We could do more now but then it would not be so easy to tell which parts of the scheme are working or not – and too many signs can make a junction cluttered and distract drivers," he said.
"When these latest works have been done, we will leave it for a year or so to assess their effect to see if there have been more accidents and if those are particularly freaky or what factors were involved, and then see if further changes or action is necessary.
"In the meantime, we will talk to the police, RHA and port authorities to flag up the problems we have discovered with lorries using the roundabout."
He said there was nothing wrong with the geometry of the roundabout and 99 per cent of vehicles negotiated it with no problem.
"The problem with major work is that it deals with the results of the accidents rather than the cause, which is not particularly helpful – and it could just move the accidents to another part of the roundabout, or lead to different sorts of accidents," he added.