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Victory for coast road campaigners
WEST Dorset campaigners are celebrating victory as white lines have been reinstated on a notorious stretch of road after years of protest.
Residents have been lobbying for six years to have the lines repainted in the middle of the B3157 coast road between Weymouth and Bridport.
They said the lack of markings added to the danger of the road, particularly in foggy conditions.
The lines and signage were removed after Dorset County Council resurfaced the road.
Dorset County Council’s own figures showed that since the implementation of the scheme to ‘de-clutter’ the coast road in December, 2008 to September last year there had been 73 collisions in which somebody had been injured.
Of those collisions four resulted in fatalities and 19 suffered serious injuries.
These figures compare to a total of 66 collisions during the same period before the scheme was introduced.
The scheme triggered a public outcry and in January the county council agreed to repaint the lines.
They were finally completed on Tuesday night.
Leading campaigner district councillor for Bradpole, Ronald Coatsworth, said: “I am absolutely delighted the lines have been reinstated.
“We have spent years struggling against the decision of the officers not to put the markings back.
“It’s been a long, hard struggle.
“Now we have got to get on and develop the road as a tourist route.”
Sue Parran, landlady of the Bull Inn at Swyre, also a leading campaigner, said: “We started campaigning in 2008 – it’s taken us that long to get here.
“We’d like to say thank you to West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin for all his assistance and everybody else who has helped us.
“This has made the road a lot safer for residents and visitors – I certainly will feel a lot happier on the road now. We used to get people coming in saying ‘I don’t like driving on that road’. This will definitely have a positive impact on safety.”
She added that the work is not quite over yet as she would like to see warning signs reinstated to warn drivers of blind summits.
Resident Derrick Roberts said: “I work on Portland and in winter it is dangerous without white lines.
“At least now motorists can see what side of the road they should be on and this will help to avoid accidents.”
County, district and town councillor Ros Kayes said: “Finally, after much lobbying from communities all along the route, this much needed work is being done. I’m very glad that a work window has come up so quickly.
“I hope the lines will make things safer for all road users.”
Campaigners were helped in their bid by Mr Letwin, who said he was pleased ‘common sense’ had at last prevailed.
They say there is ‘still work to be done’ to install all the signage they feel is necessary.
Campaigner Lester Cowling from West Bexington, praised the council when it agreed to change its policy on white lines.
He said: “Well done Dorset County Council. It is not easy to have the guts to admit you were wrong.”
Barbara James, 80, from Burton Bradstock, said she would now feel safer driving along the coast road after nightfall.
She added: “We have at last achieved what we wanted.”
Reinstating the white lines cost around £10,000.
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