Fenland road safety campaigner joins fight to cut speed limit on A47 at Thorney Toll

The A47 at Thorney Toll. The A47 at Thorney Toll.

Thursday, May 1, 2014
11:22 AM

A Fenland road safety expert is backing a 10 year campaign to reduce the speed limit along part of the A47.

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Graham ChappellGraham Chappell

Graham Chappell, of the Fenland Road Safety Campaign (Charlotte’s Way) is joining forces with the Residents Association in the village to fight for a reduction from 60mph to 50mph.

The stretch of road has seen eight deaths in a decade.

Mr Chappell’s most recent success was for safety barriers on a bend in the riverside road from the Dog in a Doublet pub at Whittlesey to Peterborough following the death of two motorists whose vehicles went into the river last year.

Mr Chappell said of the Thorney Toll speed campaign: “The strength of feeling about the issue remains as high as ever.

“Considerable efforts have been made in support of their campaign to have the speed limit reduced through the village, so far, without success.

“It is clear that the residents remain in need of additional expertise and support to regain momentum for their long-fought campaign.

“I can think of no other Fenland location that is more deserving of such support at this time and have given my commitment to help as best I can.”

Councillor John Fish, of Wisbech St Mary Parish Council, spoke out last year about stepping up the fight to reduce the speed limit following the death of 27 year-old student Sukhdeep Johal in a three vehicle collision on the A47 in March 2013.

Cllr Fish said: “I have been campaigning for years to get the speed limit on the Toll road reduced from 60mph to 50 mph. We have had numerous accidents and multiple deaths there.

“I keep on having arguments with the Highways Agency but I’m getting nowhere.”

MP Steve Barclay lent his support to Cllr Fish’s campaign.

The East Cambs MP said: “I have repeatedly raised concerns over road safety at Thorney Toll road.

“I have also met with the regional director of the Highways Agency and the minister about the unacceptably high number of accidents on this road. Councillor Fish is right to call for further measures.”

Mr Chappell added: “It is only a matter of time before further preventable fatalities occur here. Intervention to reduce the speed of traffic on this stretch of road is the most likely way of reducing the risk of further fatal accidents.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “We do not have current plans to reduce the speed limit. The setting of a different speed limit on its own does not necessarily reduce collision numbers or the severity of injuries.

“However, we continue to constantly monitor safety on the A47. We take part in any relevant investigations following incidents and any data that suggests a change to the road layout would deliver safety benefits is considered.

“The A47 between New Cut roundabout and Guyhirn currently has an injury collision rate below that of the national average for roads of similar character and shows a decreasing trend.”

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