Safety measures at dock spur crucial

IMMEDIATE action is being urged to prevent another death at Felixstowe's dock spur roundabout after the latest lorry crash gave a sharp reminder of what could happen.

By Richard Cornwell

IMMEDIATE action is being urged to prevent another death at Felixstowe's dock spur roundabout after the latest lorry crash gave a sharp reminder of what could happen.

Trimley parish councillor John Barker was horrified at the recent incident when a lorry shed its five-tonne load of machinery and he saw where it landed – right in the middle of the inside lane.

"It is indeed a miracle that nobody was killed or injured," said Mr Barker.

"The Evening Star's photo of the crash clearly shows the five-tonne machinery part lying in the inside lane, that would normally be occupied by vehicles travelling to Felixstowe via Candlet Road.

"We owe it to our parishioners to do something. The next victim could a member of your family, my family or somebody we know.

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"An immediate action should be to ensure that HGVs are made to circumnavigate this roundabout at an appropriate speed."

Mr Barker has written to Nigel Smith, chairman of Trimley St Martin Parish Council, to ask for the matter of safety action to be discussed urgently before there is another fatality and for the council to make its views known to the Highways Agency.

He called for works "to be of a substantial enough nature to protect vehicles in the nearside lane".

He added: "To my mind red paint would not stop a 5 tonne machinery part from crushing a car or motorcyclist."

Felixstowe mayor Harry Dangerfield said the town council had expected to have heard by now what action would be taken at the notorious A14 junction.

"I thought the plan was to make minor modifications to the actual roundabout although that is still not ideally what we are looking for," he said.

"I hope it is more than cosmetic changes – we need effective action to stop these crashes."

Highways chiefs have said details of the planned improvements shortly would be unveiled shortly, once they have finished considering the recommendations of a report by the Transport Research Laboratory.

It is understood that likely work could include the painting of large circular 20mph signs on the Felixstowe approach to the roundabout and on the carriageway of the roundabout, as well as hatching to separate town and port traffic at Candlet Road.

It has also been suggested that a "secret speed sign" will be placed on the roundabout which will light up and flash at drivers if they are going too fast.

Four long-term options costed at between £120,000 and £385,000 have also been drawn up involving changes to the roundabout entrance, separation of traffic going to the port and town, and making the roundabout smaller.

But it is not thought that any of these will be built in the short or medium term.

There have been 16 similar lorry crashes in the past six years with articulated vehicles rolling over and losing their loads as they turn right to the port.

Three crashes have happened at the site – used by 6,000 trucks a day – since motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed there when a juggernaut flipped over onto his BMW a year ago.

Grieving friends and family have placed a cross and flowers at the spot where the accident happened to mark the anniversary.

Mr O'Sullivan, 52, was an outstanding athlete and former Army major. He spent 25 years with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Rangers. He later became bursar at the School of Jesus and Mary in Ipswich and then assistant bursar at St Joseph's College before retirement.