Action to make 'death trap' junction safer moves forward

9:21am Thursday 22nd May 2014

By Tara Cox

CALLS for action to make the Hunters Lodge ‘death trap’ junction safer look set to finally be making their mark.

The notorious A35 junction, at the turning point with Lyme Road near Hunters Lodge Inn, claimed the lives of two elderly holidaymakers on July 10 last year when their Corsa was in collision with a Renault van.

After the crash, David Parker, owner of Sea Tree House, described the major road to Lyme Regis as a ‘death trap’.

More than 100 people packed into a meeting in September with Neil Parish, MP for Honiton and Tiverton, and the Uplyme and Axminster Parish councils, which came after Mr Parish was contacted by local campaigner Joy Raymond.

Following the meeting, more than £50,000 of funding was secured to improve the safety of the junction, with the Highways Agency securing £47,000 for a revised junction scheme with construction starting before April 2015.

A further £10,000 was secured to conduct a road traffic study assessing traffic behaviour and speed.

Mr Parish has now written to Joy informing her of a recent meeting with the Highways Agency where options for the junction were discussed.

Miss Raymond, who owns Hedgehog Corner Guest and Accommodation Cottages, told the Lyme Regis News: “Local residents are terrified of the junction, and visitors don’t know what a dangerous junction they’re coming to.

"Although the Highways Agency has now suggested ideas I suspect we’ll have to press for more to be done.

“In the summer there’s one crash a week; it’s a miracle more people haven’t lost their lives.

“In an ideal world a roundabout or traffic lights would be installed. The weekend just gone I witnessed so many near-crashes.”

Joy added that a private meeting between authorities is due to take place in June, which will be followed by an open meeting informing the public of likely options for the junction.

Any progress 'positive'

Gerald Manning, son of Pamela Manning who tragically lost her life in the crash last year, said anything that slows traffic at the junction is positive.

He added: “I’m not looking for any special treatment; I just want to see the junction made safer and think of it as something I can do in memory of my mum and others who died there.

“When I went back to the scene where my mother lost her life, the traffic officer had to stop traffic so that we could lay down flowers.

“If that was a schoolchild trying to cross the situation could have been so much worse; it’s incredibly dangerous.”

'Pressure will continue'

Neil Parish, MP for Honiton and Tiverton, told the Lyme Regis News: “I have met with the Highways Agency and discussed options they will come forward with for the A35 Hunter’s Lodge junction.

“It will involve speed limits and there will also be changes made to the road coming out of the Uplyme Road onto the A35.

“They are looking to see whether speed limits can be extended so that the traffic is not coming so fast, especially up over the hill from Axminster.

“Meetings are going to be held with the local councils involved, and I’ve asked that the Highways Agency has a public meeting so everyone can see the ideas and present their views.

“The Highways Agency has come forward with some good ideas, but I will continue to apply pressure to ensure that there is a credible long-term solution to the problems facing this dangerous stretch of road.”

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