Work to make roundabout safer

PUBLISHED: 05:30 23 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

MORE safety work is set to be carried out at the deathtrap dock spur roundabout to try to cut the speed of the two million lorries a year which use it, it can be revealed today.

MORE safety work is set to be carried out at the deathtrap dock spur roundabout to try to cut the speed of the two million lorries a year which use it, it can be revealed today.

Felixstowe and Trimley councillors have welcomed the extra measures – but they are demanding to know when the major project planned for the A14 junction will get funding.

Experts brought in by the Highways Agency have identified speed as a reason behind the number of crashes in which lorries have flipped over as they head for the port, but say insecure or poorly-loaded cargo is just as much to blame.

In the past six years, 14 lorries have flipped over, causing chaos – one landed on the BMW driven by Martin O'Sullivan, of Parham, and crushed him to death.

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) says reducing the average speed of lorries using the junction by just a few miles an hour could prevent many of the accidents.

It has drawn up a plan for more interim work, including large circular 20mph signs to be painted 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 also suggests a "secret speed sign" be placed on the roundabout which would light-up and flash at drivers, showing 20mph and a toppling lorry, triggered if they were going too fast.

The TRL said speed surveys showed most lorry drivers were going round the roundabout at 25mph to 28mph – and bringing all speed down to 25mph or less could make it safer.

Its report says speed though is not the only problem and there are several factors which will need to be addressed by long-term work.

These are the long straight approach road, the entry on to the roundabout, the lack of traffic coming from the right, the good visibility to the right which deters traffic from slowing or stopping, and the tight radius to turn to the port.

Four long-term options costed at between £120,000 and £385,000 have been drawn up, involving changes to the roundabout entrance, separation of traffic going to the port and town so if a lorry flipped it would not land on a car, and making the roundabout smaller.

The Highways Agency has already carried out £25,000 of work at the junction on the edge of Felixstowe since the fatal crash, including putting in risk of overturning signs, chevrons, coloured road surfacing and strengthening rumble strips

The TRL said: "No effective action can be taken about the load security, due to the sealed nature of most of the container traffic passing through the junction.

"Speed measurements indicate that all HGV drivers pass through the junction in a tight speed band.

"Even though excessive speed is not seen as a primary cause of the accidents, reducing speed is likely to be the most effective way of preventing rollovers."

Felixstowe Town Council has welcomed the short-term work but is to write to the Highways Agency to ask about the progress on the longer-term scheme and if it can help build up a case for government funding.


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