West Dorset: MP Oliver Letwin backs calls for roundabout on A35 blackspot (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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West Dorset: MP Oliver Letwin backs calls for roundabout on A35 blackspot
West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin has lined up in support of growing pressure for better safety measures at the notorious Miles Cross junction on the A35.
As Bridport councillors try to turn up the heat on the Highways Agency to put a roundabout at the blackspot junction with West Road, Mr Letwin has pledged to try and get the idea back on the agenda.
On Sunday another two vehicles, a Toyota and Land Rover, were involved in a collision at Miles Cross. No-one was injured.
Members of the town’s highways and transportation sub-committee were strongly in support of a plea from veteran councillor David Tett, who urged them to set up a pressure group with neighbouring parish councils to force the Highways Agency to act.
Mr Letwin agrees it is time the issue was looked at again and he is set to arrange a meeting of all concerned parties.
He said: “I continue to believe that we need a roundabout at Miles Cross.
“Of course money is tight and the Highways Authority has many priorities. But I think it is time to try again, and I therefore welcome David Tett's initiative.
“I am going to arrange a meeting of all the parties to pursue this again.”
Coun Tett had reported to fellow councillors that the junction of the A35 and West Road had been plagued with accidents since its opening more than 20 years ago, but that pleas for safety measures had fallen on deaf ears.
Members looked in consternation at a pile of albums of photos taken by resident Sue Kane of scores of crashes at the complex junction, which causes confusion even among local motorists.
Bridport resident John McHugh took advantage of the public forum before the meeting to say that neither the Highways Agency, nor the county council or police had been able to give a definitive answer about who had right of way when turning off the trunk road towards Bridport or out of West Road towards Chideock.
Coun Martin Ray said: “We have been banging on about this ever since – let’s keep it going and get on with it.”
Coun Phil Lathey said that there had been many meetings on the issue with the Highways Agency and Connect but nothing had been done.
“We just seem to be banging our heads against a brick wall,” he said. “There is no reason for not putting in a roundabout. The expense to the country of having accidents or losing their lives is far greater than the cost.”
The sub-committee agreed to recommend that Coun Tett’s suggestion for a formal approach to Mr Letwin and other parishes, with a view to pushing for a new roundabout should be supported.
A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “Safety is our top priority when making decisions about our network.
“The safety records of all Agency roads are routinely analysed and proposals for safety improvements brought forward on the basis of highest priority and where maximum benefit can be achieved for the investment made.
“We did introduce a 50mph speed limit at this location some years ago but currently have no improvements planned. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
The Agency spokesman added: “There is a dedicated lane for right turning traffic from the A35 and a waiting area for traffic turning right from the B3162 onto the A35.”
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