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White line victory for coast road
COUNCILLORS have agreed to reinstate the white lines on the B3157 coast road.
The move comes after public concern about the impact of removing the lines from the route between Weymouth and Bridport back in 2008.
Figures considered by members of Dorset County Council's cabinet showed that since the implementation of the coast road scheme in December 2008 to September last year there had been 73 collisions in which somebody had been injured compared to 66 in the same period before the scheme was introduced.
Of those collisions four resulted in fatalities and 19 in serious injuries.
However, members were told that that the majority of collisions had occurred in areas where the road markings had remained and the main contributing factor had been driver error.
Cabinet member for community services Peter Finney said: “There is no direct evidence one way or another to prove or disprove that there is any ill effects from having the lines there or not.”
The committee heard representations from local members Ron Coatsworth, Ros Kayes and Ian Gardner citing concerns by residents about the impact on road safety since the markings were removed, particularly when it is foggy or misty.
Coun Coatsworth said that removing the white lines would have 'overwhelming public support' from communities that live along the road and those who use it.
He said: “It has the support of practically everybody who lives along the road and they are the important people.”
Coun Kayes added: “If the aim of their removal was to improve safety and reduce road casualties, the statistics show that it has seemingly failed do so.”
Coun Gardner said: “I do recognise the logic behind the original proposal but unfortunately the scheme has not met with the support of most of our residents and there is a concern with regard to coastal fog and mist.”
He added: “Many regular road users feel that speeds have increased following the central white line removal and there appears to be more overtaking where the speed limit has been reduced from 60mph to 50mph.”
The cabinet member for corporate resources Robert Gould told the meeting: “What we have got to do is take a very pragmatic approach and show we are listening to very genuine concerns.”
The committee agreed to reinstate the white lines, which will cost around £10,000.
Members were told that the work may not be completed immediately because road marking can only be done when the road is dry and free from salt.
Interim director for environment Mike Harries added that officers would continue to monitor the road and keep the issue under review.
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