Safety work reduces lorry speed

SAFETY work at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout has cut the speed of heavy lorries significantly, according to a new report out today.Surveys taken three months after the introduction of a vehicle-activated speed sign show many more drivers are now slowing down as they approach the A14 junction and the overall speed of HGVs is lower.

SAFETY work at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout has cut the speed of heavy lorries significantly, according to a new report out today.

Surveys taken three months after the introduction of a vehicle-activated speed sign show many more drivers are now slowing down as they approach the

A14 junction and the overall speed of HGVs is lower.

In the past six years there have been 20 incidents of trucks rolling over or shedding their loads. In the worst motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed when an articulated lorry landed on top of his car and crushed it flat.


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Work is currently under way to install a second flashing sign showing a tipping lorry warning drivers to slow down – this time on the Ipswich-bound carriageway for truckers leaving the port.

The two signs, plus work on other signs, are costing £106,000 and the Port of Felixstowe has contributed £36,000.

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Highways Agency project manager Roger Chenery said the new vehicle-activated sign on the Felixstowe-bound approach to the dock spur, changes to improve and modernise other signing, changes to road markings and publicity about the problems and dangers at the roundabout had all helped cut speed.

"We are very pleased that lorries are now going slower and approaching this roundabout more cautiously – the figures are quite significant and it is a good step forward," he said.

"But it is not just down to the vehicle-activated signs, it's due to a combination of work."

The aim was to target truckers whose vehicles were at risk of rolling over and speed was a major factor, though loading of the vehicles, driver error and other issues all play a part.

The survey by Atkins, Highways and Transportation, recorded the speeds of 124 lorries in free-flowing traffic conditions.

It found 54 per cent of trucks travelling above 38mph, the speed which triggers the flashing sign, 150 metres from the junction compared with 76pc doing that speed before the sign was installed – a reduction of 22pc.

The numbers of lorries entering the roundabout at above 25mph was now 15pc, a reduction of 25pc from the "before" study. Some 69pc are now entering the roundabout at speeds between 20 and 25mph.

The advisory signs on the roundabout suggest a speed of 20mph so the target was to keep speeds under 25mph.

Further surveys will take place in October – six months after it was put in – and next April.

Mr Chenery said the new sign would be triggered by speeds of 41mph or above and signs will advise drivers to slow to 30mph. Accidents involving lorries tipping over on the left turn to Ipswich had been surprising but again it was felt speed – with drivers putting their foot down on the uphill stretch – was a factor.

There has not been an accident at the dock spur since October last year.

Have lorries cut their speed at the dock spur – what's your experience? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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