Improved safety hope for Fenland ‘killer’ road as Cambridgeshire County Council agrees to exploratory barrier testing

A MAJOR breakthrough was announced today in the bid to secure barriers along at least one Fenland riverside road.

County council highway bosses said work would start on Monday testing the ground for possible barrier installation near Bedlam Bridge, March.

Amanda Mays, accident investigation and prevention team leader for the council, said: “We have got a company to do specific testing at that location to give us valuable, up to date information.”

The decision to test the soil follows a three year campaign by the Fenland Road Safety Campaign set up following the death of school girl Charlotte Walker.

Campaign organiser Graham Chappell, a family friend of the Walkers, has since raised �5,000 towards a barrier and a fortnight ago handed the money to the county council.

Mr Chappell was also successful in working with MP Steve Barclay to bring Roads Minister Mike Penning to Fenland- and to Bedlam Bridge- to see at first hand the danger posed by riverside roads.

Ms Mays said the council was “not entirely sure” how much could be achieved with �5,000 but they were determined to “help communities help themselves.”

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She added: “If this is something the local community wants and is raising money for it, in the current economic climate it is important we help people who want to help themselves.”

She said barriers posed “significant engineering problems” but revising barrier costing and looking at new technologies was important information for the council to have.

Inspectors will now look at the site and install some test posts embedded in concrete which will be left for 28 days to ‘cure’. Checks will then be made on resistance and durability.

From the results the council will produce a design “which will give us a barrier up to current standards offering some restraint to cars and prevent them going into the water”.

Ms Mays said preliminary work will enable the county council to establish the true cost of providing safety improvements. A mix of private and public funding was always a possibility to achieve a result, she said.

She praised Mr Chappell for a “fantastic effort in raising the profile of Fenland” and for his road safety campaigning efforts.

Mr Chappell said it was too soon to predict an outcome but felt the campaign “may be on the verge of real progress”.

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