North Devon MP Nick Harvey has challenged major roadwork’s safety on the Ashford (Strand Lane) to Barnstaple (Chaddiford Lane) dual carriageway.
This follows complaints by constituents that the works were ‘a recipe for disaster’. These works, which involves the reconstruction of the carriageway and associated drainage improvements, are located over the brow of a hill, on a corner where the road narrows. This can cause visibility problems and make vehicles in the left-hand lane vulnerable to possible road accidents. A point well highlighted by locals.
Historically, this section of A361 has had a history of road accidents. Slightly further up the same road is the Midland caravan site where road-related deaths have resulted. This is not dissimilar to the junction on the A39 at the Bideford Torridge Bridge where after a series of fatal road collisions there was a complete redesign of the junction at considerable expense.
Nick Harvey in acknowledging public concerns said: “The history of the road and the current diversions in place are definitely cause for concern. After considering the urgent road works we must ensure safety for those who are travelling through the diversions as paramount.”
When questioned, David Whitton, Head of Highways at Devon County Council said: “To enable us to minimise disruption to the travelling public, operate the site safely whilst work is taking place and avoid a road closure and the associated use of diversion routes, we are using a contra flow arrangement which necessitates traffic having to cross the central reservation area.”
However, Mr Harvey added: “I am not entirely reassured by Highways explanation. These works are hazardous and the main priority is to ensure safety for those travelling along the road.”
(from a press release)