A19 ‘not dangerous enough’ to receive road safety funding, say transport chiefs

The scene of a crash on the A19 near Seaham last month, which involved six vehicles.
The scene of a crash on the A19 near Seaham last month, which involved six vehicles.

Funding to make the A19 safer will not be allocated by the Government - because it is not dangerous enough.

Despite dozens of collisions on the stretch through the region, transport chiefs say the route is not high risk enough to win support for improvements from the Safer Roads Fund.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

The £175million fund was set up to target the 50 A road sections in England which carried the biggest chance of death and serious injury to road users.

Figures of fatal, serious and slight injury accidents in 2016 are still being calculated and confirmed and are set to be released later this month, but initial statistics show between the Wolviston interchange and Testo’s Roundabout at Boldon, there have been an estimated 36 collisions involving 88 vehicles.

These left 71 people injured, with six of those collisions classed as serious.

Cash from the fund has been awarded to a 4 mile stretch of the of the A1290, from the A182 at Usworth to A19 at Boldon, and another 5 mile section of the A67 from the A66 to Bowes.

The sections of the A19 that are the responsibility of local highway authorities do not feature within this top 50 list and so are not eligible for the Safer Roads Fund.

Jesse Norman

Easington MP Grahame Morris has called on the Government to launch an inquiry into safety on the road in the hope measures can be drafted in to reduce the risk to drivers and passengers.

Our Safe A19 campaign backs the proposal, with more than 1,130 names already added to our Change.org petition, which urges the Department of Transport to look into the causes of collisions and take action.

Mr Morris has raised the issue in Parliament, with his latest queries asking how much of that £175million will go on improving safety on the A19.

He has also asked about the cost of a fatal collision on an A road - but did not receive a figure.

Jesse Norman, Secretary of State for Transport, told Mr Morris: “The £175million Safer Roads Fund targets the 50 local authority ‘A’ road sections in England that carry the highest risk of death and serious injury to road users, based on analysis by the Road Safety Foundation.

“The sections of the A19 that are the responsibility of local highway authorities do not feature within this top 50 list and so are not eligible for the Safer Roads Fund.”

In relation to the cost of accidents, he added: “The Department does not hold this information.

“We have estimates of accident costs in our online appraisal guidance.

“These estimates include police costs, damage to property and insurance and admin costs.

“Costs are split between built up roads with a speed limit of 40 mph or less and non-built up roads with speed limits greater than 40mph.

“Data is not available for A roads specifically.”

Funding of £3.9million has been allocated to repair 74,000 potholes across the region “over and above” the amount the Government said it had committed to repairs for the 2017/18 period.

To sign our petition visit https://goo.gl/ubdhzF