Forty Foot Bank has had its day'

PUBLISHED: 12:21 10 February 2006 | UPDATED: 21:42 28 May 2010

Signing the petition

Signing the petition

THE FORTY Foot Bank, originally built for horses and carts, cannot cope with 21st century vehicles and should be closed to through traffic, says Chatteris Councillor Alan Melton. Cllr Melton, who sits on the Fenland Traffic Management Area Joint Committee

THE FORTY Foot Bank, originally built for horses and carts, cannot cope with 21st century vehicles and should be closed to through traffic, says Chatteris Councillor Alan Melton.

Cllr Melton, who sits on the Fenland Traffic Management Area Joint Committee, joined the safety debate this week following five deaths along the Forty Foot in six weeks.

His comments come as almost 200 villagers visiting Benwick Post Office and stores signed a petition calling for urgent action to upgrade safety on the road.

Cllr Melton said: "The Forty Foot has had its day. It was built to cope with horses and carts, not 440-tonne lorries and high-powered cars.

It should be made 'access-only' within 10 years.

"The banks are crumbling away, it is getting wider and wider and deeper and deeper as the Fenland soil sinks.

"The road surface gets damaged all the time and the drain has to be dragged every few years because it silts up.

It is probably the most expensively maintained road in Cambridgeshire."

Cllr Melton said the Forty Foot was wrongly used as a main route to Peterborough.

He said this could be changed with the building of the long-awaited roundabout at the A142/A605 Goosetree junction and the planned Whittlesey bypass.

Last Wednesday, three Portuguese factory workers were killed when their car crashed into the Forty Foot's icy waters.

Driver Jose Marmeleria, 49, and passengers Carlos Condeco, 46, and Cidalina de Oliveira, 56, who lived in Peterborough, were killed after they were involved in a collision with a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Miraculously, driver's son Miguel Marmeleria, 19, escaped through a car window.

The Cavalier's 31-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and has been bailed to return to Thorpe Wood Police Station, Peterborough,on April 5.

The three deaths follow the loss of Dean Hawes, 27, and his seven-year-old son Jordan, of Gull Way, Chatteris, who were killed when their car crashed into the drain just before Christmas.

* Inquests into the three Portuguese victims were opened in Wisbech on Wednesday and adjourned.

Coroner William Morris gave the cause of death as drowning but said Jose Marmeleria also died of a heart attack.

Full hearings will be held on dates yet to be fixed.

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