A46 safety campaign – Highways Agency takes step in right direction

Road safety campaigners and local Conservative politicians have given a qualified welcome to the Highways Agency’s response to concerns about the number of accidents along the A46 near Bath. After months of campaigning, the Highways Agency have now responded to a letter from Conservative Councillor Martin Veal (Bathavon North) saying they will investigate the issue seriously.

Interroute, the company which monitors roads in the area on behalf of the Highways Agency and deals with public queries, has said that ‘loss of control’ collisions have been shown to be the main cause of accidents along the notorious Hartley Bends stretch of the A46. They have therefore agreed to recommend that the Highways Agency improve skid resistance along the road as soon as is feasible.

Councillor Veal welcomed the reply and has said it is a “step in the right direction” but that it is “not a complete solution”. Martin has also said that the issue must not be put on the back-burner by the Highways Agency and that anti-skid surfacing must take place sooner rather than later.

Councillor Veal also requested that flashing speed-signs, or ‘Vehicle Activated Signs’, be installed on the approach to the sharp corners, with warnings for drivers of the high incident rate in the area. He has also asked that the possibility of a 40mph limit on certain stretches of the road be investigated.

Councillor Veal (Con, Bathavon North) commented:

“Any news of improvements is good news, but I still believe more serious measures need to be taken. The new anti-skid surfaces help prevent some accidents, but notorious stretches of road like this need more robust measures. Drivers need to be warned that they are approaching a particularly dangerous stretch of road so that they can adjust their driving accordingly and I still hope the Highways Agency take up some more of my suggestions.

“I am still asking for a Highways Agency officer to come and visit the site with me so they can see the sharp bends, but in the mean time I want to make sure that the promised improvements are carried out with urgency.”