Work starts at killer roundabout
ACTION to improve safety at the notorious dock spur roundabout on the edge of Felixstowe got under way early today as contractors moved on site.Around £30,000 is being spent by the Highways Agency on repairs to the road surfacing, signs and road markings to try to force drivers to cut their speed.
ACTION to improve safety at the notorious dock spur roundabout on the edge of Felixstowe got under way early today as contractors moved on site.
Around £30,000 is being spent by the Highways Agency on repairs to the road surfacing, signs and road markings to try to force drivers to cut their speed.
The improvements are in line with recommendations made by the Transport Research Laboratory last year after a lengthy study into the lorry roll-over crashes at the A14 junction.
In the past six years there have been 19 accidents where trucks have flipped over or shed 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.
The first part of the work – resurfacing and revising road markings – was set to start early today and will take three nights. It is being carried out during off-peak hours from 9pm to 6am.
Jamie Hassall, project manager at the Highways Agency said: "The Transport Research Laboratory has spent considerable time analysing and collecting information about the roundabout and we are confident that these measures will slow traffic and improve safety at this busy roundabout."
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During the work – being carried out by Amey Mouchel of Great Blakenham and supervised by Atkins Consultants – around one mile of the A14 eastbound approaching the roundabout will be reduced to a single lane.
The outer lane of the roundabout will be closed and drivers will use the inside lane to travel around the roundabout and exit.
Next month further improvements will be carried out in consultation with Suffolk County Council, including changes to the chevrons and hatching at the roundabout's Candlet Road junction.
This will see traffic going to the town centre and traffic going to the docks separated to make it easier for heavy lorries to get around the island past the splitter island.
Chevron signs will also be put on the splitter island to restrict visibility. It is hoped this will reduce the number of rear-shunt accidents by restricting the right view and forcing drivers to look forward and stop at the junction.
A direction sign will also be put on the island to denote the direction for town centre traffic and the direction for A14 traffic to ensure there is no confusion and late changes in direction near Candlet Road.
Last week The Evening Star revealed that the Highways Agency is looking at the possibility of secret cameras to record speeds of every lorry and catch on film all rollover accidents, and also secret speed signs.
Bosses at the Port of Felixstowe have offered to contribute to the cost of the new equipment.
The port, in association with The Evening Star, is already publishing thousands of safety leaflets urging lorry drivers to cut their speed and be aware of the dangers at the junction.
fastfacts: Watch out – men at work
Eleven roadworkers have been killed in Highways Agency roadworks in the past two years by moving traffic. This equates to a one in 1,000 chance of being killed.
The Highways Agency, with the support of the Driving Standards Agency and the Department for Transport, has created six messages to raise driver awareness to help prevent accidents:
n Keep to the speed limit – it is there for your safety
n Get into the correct lane in good time – don't keep switching
n Concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks
n Be alert for works traffic leaving or entering roadworks
n Keep a safe distance – there could be queues in front
n Observe all signs – they are there to help you.