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Talks call for deathtrap roundabout

PUBLISHED: 15:44 23 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

PORT chiefs are today calling for an urgent meeting to discuss putting in secret speed signs at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout.

The Port of Felixstowe is prepared to pay for the vehicle activated flashing signs, but says the Highways Agency has been slow to take up its offer.

PORT chiefs are today calling for an urgent meeting to discuss putting in secret speed signs at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout.

The Port of Felixstowe is prepared to pay for the vehicle activated flashing signs, but says the Highways Agency has been slow to take up its offer.

It now wants a priority meeting with agency officials to discuss why the signs have not been put up yet.

Experts have identified speed and poor loading of containers as the main reasons why so many lorries roll over at the A14 junction on the edge of the resort.

In the past six years, 19 trucks have flipped over or shed their loads – and in the worst, motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed when an articulated lorry landed on top of his car and crushed it flat.

Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager at Hutchison Ports UK, said both the port and the Transport Research Laboratory, which has carried out safety studies at the roundabout, believed the secret speed signs would cut speed.

"We do, however, remain concerned that despite the evidence that these signs are effective, and our offer to contribute towards the funding of them, there still appears to be no firm commitment from the Highways Agency to install these signs at the dock spur roundabout," he said.

The port, in association with The Evening Star, has already published thousands of safety leaflets urging lorry drivers to cut their speed and be aware of the dangers of their juggernauts rolling over as they turn right to the port.

The Highways Agency says it is looking at the idea of the vehicle activated signs but because of the technology involved it needs to be sure the cameras will be placed correctly and do the job.

It is also looking at the cost of using speed cameras for a trial six months, and Felixstowe councillor David Bentinck believes these are also essential.

"If a number of lorry drivers were fined for exceeding the 20mph speed limit at the roundabout, word would soon get round and speed would not longer be a factor," he said.

But despite the agency's commitment to action it is the incredible slowness – unlike the traffic – with which its officials act.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer is also pressing for action, while Felixstowe Town Council, unhappy at £30,000 being spent recently on more signs and lines, are also pressing for a major engineering scheme to separate traffic heading for the port and town.

n What do you think is the answer to the dock spur roundabout? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk


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