Fresh call for 'urgent solutions' after lorry crash on A1
Fresh calls are being made for safety and other improvements after a lorry overturned on Friday on the A1 at Colsterworth.
Chaos was caused as the busy dual carriageway was closed from the A607 at Grantham to the A606 at Stamford from 5am to 4.30pm.
The lorry was carrying 23 tonnes of sulphuric acid, none of which leaked from the HGV. Specialist equipment was brought in to recover the vehicle, leading to the lengthy road closure.
Although initially trapped, the driver managed to get free. He was not injured, according to Lincolnshire Police inspector Mark Gee.
The incident and ensuing traffic chaos has prompted a call for major improvements to the busy A1 from Colsterworth Parish Council.
Chairman David Bellamy said the road is “not fit for purpose and part of a dysfunctional traffic system, which is particularly bad for our area”.
He said he has recently been in touch with MP Nick Boles about the “appalling statistic of more than 800 accidents” in a 70-mile stretch of the A1 through Lincolnshire, Rutland and Nottinghamshire over the past five years.
He added: “I’ve had several people in the past year who have reported to myself incidents when long vehicles have been crossing the narrow central reservation points with part of the vehicle protruding into the outer lane of the A1.
“Vehicles being cut up in the overtaking lane is another major concern, particularly with the amount of left-hand drive LGVs using the road. If I’m aware of several near misses, there’s likely to be hundreds of such incidents in a year and obviously there’s ones leading to accidents.”
In just one hour this week, Mr Bellamy stood on the bridge at Great Ponton and witnessed a woman crossing the A1 to buy a paper even though there was a pedestrian bridge 100m away, bins being collected on a slip road, a van with its bumper sticking out in a slip road and a taxi having to pull up blind in the overtaking lane because its driver’s view was blocked by a car in a slip road.
A year ago, Colsterworth Parish Council met with Mr Boles to discuss the situation of accidents happening on the road almost on a weekly basis. They lobbied the Department for Transport and a safety review of the road was promised, but nothing seems to have happened since then.
Mr Bellamy recalls a motorway was planned 30 years ago, with properties along the planned route purchased but then sold when the upgrade was cancelled. But such improvements must “be more urgent now”.
Mr Bellamy said: “Although I can see it would be hugely unpopular from an environmental point of view, we can’t go on as we are, last Friday being a case in point. The whole area, not just Grantham, was brought to a grinding halt.
“Unfortunately, our MPs seem to have been distracted by Brexit for the past two years and constituency matters seem to have been neglected.”
Mr Bellamy has spoken to local district councillor Bob Adams about the issue, as well as the district and county councils.
Coun Adams said he would raise the issue again with Highways England and Mr Boles.
He added: “With the possible quarry expansion at Colsterworth, increased pressure on the junction at Crabtree Road makes improvements more urgent.
“There is an apparent lack of urgency from Highways England to address the problems and come forward with solutions.”
Lincolnshire County Council executive member for highways Coun Richard Davies said, through the Road Safety Partnership, he meets regularly with Highways England about the road. Since roundabouts were removed several years ago, he said, the road has become more dangerous.
People are quick to blame drivers, but there was the design and layout of the road, the junctions and the number of exits, particularly south of Grantham.
He pledged to raise the issue again with Mr Boles, adding: “We need Highways England to look at this quickly as people are dying unnecessarily. In an ideal world we would have the road upgraded in its entire length from London to Edinburgh but we do need improvements to known accident blackspots between Stamford and Grantham.
“We need Highways England to step up their activity on this problem.”
Highways England safety improvements team leader Emma Timson said: “We’ve been working with partners to produce a detailed study looking at safety along the A1 as a whole.
“This will help us identify any improvements along that stretch of the road in the future.”