The focus is once again on an accident blackspot on the A1 near Grantham.
The crossing between the southbound and northbound carriageways at Great Ponton is a notoriously dangerous section of the busy road, where vehicles scoot across from the village to travel north.
And those dangers became even more apparent when today (Thursday) the Journal captured on camera a near-miss incident.
A lorry was driven across the road with its trailer blocking the southbound carriageway for several seconds, forcing oncoming cars to slam on their brakes. Honking their horns, they drew almost to a halt before the lorry cleared the lanes, pulling on to the northbound carriageway.
John Siddle, of the Lincolnshire Roads Safety Partnership, said: “The driver should have waited for both lanes to be clear before exiting the village, possibly a long wait but certainly the safest option, to make the crossing in one manoeuvre.
“Dangerous? Yes! Thankfully the southbound drivers became aware of the danger and avoided him.
“We have tried to identify the vehicle, to contact the owners about the driver’s behaviour, however we cannot make out the registration or logos on the vehicle.”
In what witnesses have described as a similar manoeuvre at the same crossing on Friday, a collision with a lorry saw a van veer off the A1 and crash into a garden – stopping just a stone’s throw from their homes.
A LIVES volunteer and two double crew ambulances attended, with the lorry driver reportedly taken to Lincoln Hospital wearing a neck brace, while the van driver suffered concussion and cuts to his head and arm and was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
So damaged was the van that it had to be towed out of the garden. There were long delays for motorists after police were forced to close the road during recovery.
The van crashed right outside the front door of Great Ponton resident for over 30 years Gordon Taylor, who couldn’t believe it when he and his wife returned home from Skegness at lunchtime to find the badly damaged vehicle on their lawn.
His next door neighbour of 33 years, David Baxter, had been at the other side of his house when he heard a “massive bang”, only to look out and see the van had careered through his hedges, taking much of his garden with it.
“I was in total shock,” said Mr Baxter. “It’s only happened once before when we had a car come through about 15 to 20 years ago.”
Mr Taylor said the village had been calling for work to be done on the A1 to prevent this kind of crash happening.
He said: “I’m on the parish council and we keep saying that there needs to be fencing along here, as there is nothing to stop them coming through the hedges.
“They were also supposed to be getting rid of the crossing in the centre,” he added. “If they don’t do something, someone is going to get killed. It shouldn’t take that before they do something.”
Fellow Great Ponton parish councillor Janet Dawson told the Journal: “We have been on to Highways about this, but the impression we get is there has not been ‘enough fatalities’. They put the speed cameras in, but they have not gone far enough. There has been a lot of accidents and we have spoken to Highways, done petitions, but it’s not made any difference.”
Action is being taken on the stretch of road to reduce the number of collisions with the installation of average speed cameras next year.
Highways England, in response to statistics provided by the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP), has decided to install eight average speed cameras between Little Ponton and Stoke Rochford – four on each carriageway. They will replace the current speed cameras at Great Ponton and Barrowby Thorns, which Highways England said have helped reduce incidents. However, there are concerns that speeding motorists slow down only as they pass the cameras.
Some residents are unconvinced that these cameras will stop the succession of accidents in the area, which has seen 42 people injured on this stretch in the last five years, including one fatality.
In May there was another collision at the same spot between a van and a car, which left a woman trapped and needing to be cut out by firefighters. In 2012 a female passenger in her 50s was killed after a car came off the A1 southbound at Great Ponton and crashed into a tree.
In response to Friday’s accident, Mr Siddle said: “Despite some engineering changes to the junctions, additional enforcement and improved signage, there continues to be collisions that result in casualties in this area. Highways England have agreed to fund an average speed camera system for this area and our expectations are that casualty reduction will follow.”
A Highways England spokesperson confirmed: “National studies show speed cameras cut incidents on rural roads, like this part of the A1, by more than 50 per cent.
“Safety is our utmost priority, and recent reports have thoroughly investigated the cause of incidents on this stretch. Using local and national evidence, we’re confident that installing cameras here will cut speeding and improve safety for everyone using this road.
“We intend to start work to install cameras on this stretch of the A1 by 2016.”