Speed campaigners hopeful after meeting with highways chief

Thorney Toll meeting for a 50mph speed limit - Roger Chenery (left) addresses the meeting with Carl

Thorney Toll meeting for a 50mph speed limit - Roger Chenery (left) addresses the meeting with Carl Suckling FDC right. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Campaigners argued their case for a reduced speed limit along a stretch of the busy A47 road today (Wednesday) when they met with a highways chief.

The Thorney Toll Speed Limit Reduction Campaign has been raging for more than a decade and has won support from all parts of the local community including residents, the parish council and local MP Steve Barclay.

Currently the speed limit is 60mph for the road as it passes through Thorney Toll but residents want to see it reduced to 50mph in a bid to cut accidents and save lives.

There have been eight deaths in a decade on the stretch of road and campaigners fear more people could be killed or injured unless action is taken.

Roger Chenery, the Highways Agency’s Asset Manager for the A47 met with campaigners at Thorney Toll village hall where he was presented with a document outlining the road’s black history of accidents as well as a petition signed by the vast majority of residents and businesses.

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Campaigners claim the crashes largely involve through traffic colliding with vehicles slowing or turning into the numerous access points off the A47 into homes, businesses and farms at Thorney Toll.

There is also a history of pedestrian deaths and casualties due to physical impact by through traffic, when people attempt to cross the road.

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The most recent fatal accident occurred on March 15 2013, when the vehicle of Sukhdeep Johal, 27, of Leicester, was shunted from behind into the path of an oncoming lorry, as he waited to turn into one of the local Service Stations, and he was killed in the collision.

Campaigners have produced a ‘crash map’ highlighting the accidents along the Thorney Toll stretch between 2005 and 2013.

Graham Chappell, organiser and chairman for the Fenland Road Safety Campaign (Charlotte’s Way), who drew up the document presented to Mr Chenery said the meeting had been positive.

He said Mr Chenery was sympathetic to the cause but explained changing the speed limit was a difficult undertaking as it involves a major road and any changes would be subjected to strict scrutiny and various auditing processes.

Mr Chenery also explained Thorney Toll was already been looked at in terms of safety and he promised to try if possible, to include a speed limit reduction in any safety measures made for the hamlet.

Proposals currently include better signage and road marking to raise driver awareness of potential hazards, such as vehicles turning across the traffic.

“The meeting left feeling hopeful, Mr Chenery was very helpful and encouraging and gave a lot of time to listening to what we had to say,” concluded Mr Chappell, who expects to have an initial response by the beginning of next month.

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