Road chiefs rule out roundabout

PUBLISHED: 18:26 13 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

COUNTY road chiefs have ruled out installing a roundabout at the blackspot A140 junction where a horror smash left a mother-of-three nurse with serious injuries, the Evening Star can reveal.

COUNTY road chiefs have ruled out installing a roundabout at the blackspot A140 junction where a horror smash left a mother-of-three nurse with serious injuries, the Evening Star can reveal.

But Suffolk's head of road transport today told campaigners that there is £30,000 earmarked for an alternative safety measure in the area as part of £1.3m to be spent on new work for the killer road this year.

A roundabout was top of the wish list for the father of victim Kathy Sparkes, who has fought her way off the critical list after her car collided with a lorry and ploughed into roadside pub.

Mrs Sparkes, a nurse at Hartismere Hospital, near Eye, was on her way home to Wyverstone, near Stowmarket, when the crash happened by the White Horse Inn on Thursday morning – the eighth to have resulted in injury in just five years. She is recovering in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

Her father, Brian Lockie, fumed there should have been a roundabout at the White Horse junction "years ago".

"You take your life into your hands on that road," he added.

Though his calls were supported by wife Jean and district councillor for the area Ian Passmore, David Chinery, road safety manager at Suffolk County Council – who took over responsibility from the Highways Agency for the A140 and A12 last May – told the Star that a roundabout would be too expensive.

But he said that the Stoke Ash crossroads has already been noted as a hot spot needing attention – and another way of slowing the dangerous speeds of traffic travelling along that notorious stretch may be more appropriate.

Council-sponsored public consultations and workshops are due to be held by the beginning of May on issues such as traffic volumes, public transport along the length of A140 corridor, cycling and issues of pedestrian concern. Work is continuing to close the gap in one direction at the B1078 junction at Coddenham where the 50mph has been extended and a new speed camera installed.

"We are not waiting for studies to be carried out before we do things. We did the Coddenham junction because that was important. What we are also doing is producing a list of things we can do this year," he said, adding that the council received an extra £1.3m to spend this coming year on the recently de-trunked A140 and the A12 – on top of the £2m at their disposal to spend on highway projects across the county. He said the money was for maintenance and new work that would make the road safer.

"The Stoke Ash crossroads has already been picked up as a high accident location site. We have already set aside money to do a local safety scheme. We are analysing the details now.

"It has exceeded the threshold we look at and needs some sort of action."

However he said that a roundabout was "highly unlikely". Stressing the high costs and planning issues such as lighting and land acquisition for this type of large-scale plan, he added: "I don't think the cost benefit would be acceptable."

Mr Chinery said: "What we are trying to do is prioritise where best to spend that on both the A140 and the A12."

Accident statistics are compiled and form a "well-proven" system of rolling league table of blackspots, he said.

"Our job is to look at the worse spots and we're trying to prioritise on a rolling basis. It happens that Stoke Ash is on a list of 30 potential schemes we're looking at this year. If it doesn't get done this year then it goes on a shortlist for next year.

"It's a well-proven process. Suffolk has a very good record on accident reduction – one of the best in the eastern region."

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