In light of recent fatal collisions on roads in Oxfordshire, it has been proposed that a separate crawler lane for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and average speed cameras should be implemented on the A34 to help improve safety and reduce the number of accidents occurring. The plan is part of a multi-million pound set of safety measures being proposed by Oxfordshire County Council's transport panel following an increased number of deaths on the road in 2016.
So far this year, 6 people have been killed on the A34. This number is one less than the last five years combined and it is hoped that the measures implemented will dramatically improve people's driving experience and make the road a safer place to drive.
The measures will be put to Highways England; the authority in charge of the road, later this month in hope that the measures will be put in to place as soon as possible.
MOTORISTS have also called for the A34 to be upgraded to ‘the M34’ after the safety measures were put forward. Whilst Oxfordshire County Council’s transport advisory panel has proposed the average speed cameras and a third ‘crawler’ lane for HGVs, drivers have commented this week that they felt the capacity of vehicles on the road at present was a major issue and called for the road to be upgraded to a motorway.
Driver Jenni Shaw said: “It needs to be turned in to a motorway” while Geoff332 commented on the proposal stating: “The real problem is not speed but capacity. The only real solution is to upgrade the road to motorway standards. This means better junctions, lower gradients, and, in many places, adding a third lane.”
Lianne Johnson said: “The road has become too busy to stay as a dual carriageway - its needs to be a motorway.
Six people have been people have been killed on the A34 already this year, including three-year-old Isla Wiggin.
Newbury MP Richard Benyon and Wantage MP Ed Vaizey have set a date with the transport minister next month to discuss the issue further with the proposed average speed cameras, issuing tickets for the drivers going too fast
County councillor Stewart Lilly, who sits on the Transport Advisory panel, has put forward the initial measures for review. Those of which could be further added to in time and demanded actions are taken quickly to reduce the risk of fatal collisions on the road. He commented:
"Oxfordshire contributes around £20bn to the economy and the A34 access is vital to that - let's start seeing some of the money back to help us."
Cathryn Millward initiated the A34 Action Group, she has said: "I'm pleased these measures are being put forward but we don't know a timescale for them to come into effect. There are a number of things which could be done tomorrow to prevent more deaths, such as temporary signs to reduce speed limit."
In opposition, Mick Clarke, the council's road safety manager, placed the emphasis on educating drivers on the dangers of reckless driving. He said: "There's no such thing as a dangerous road, it's almost always down to human error.” And that “there are things that can be done on certain stretches of road, such as warning signs, but it's about getting the right balance”.
While the safety measure, crawler lane and the potential for updating to a motorway have only been proposed for the A34, there may be the need for other councils to follow in Oxfordshire’s footsteps and update the safety measures on their most dangerous roads.
First published on www.ITSInternational.com