DCSIMG

Crash danger spot in Fernhurst

The new gas box in the hole in the hedge left by two almost identical crashes on the A286. CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

The new gas box in the hole in the hedge left by two almost identical crashes on the A286. CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

THEY say lightning is not meant to strike twice, but it has at the now infamous Cooksbridge crash corner just south of Fernhurst on the A286.

In the last three weeks, cars have twice crashed off the road as they travelled south towards Midhurst, and wiped out the gas supply junction box some yards up the bank outside Granary Cottage on the opposite side of the road.

Both incidents happened around 7pm on a Friday evening and both times a severe leak of gas necessitated the A286 being closed for several hours while police and other services sorted the problem.

Gas engineers were called in from around three counties to sort the problem, exacerbated by the errant car sited on top of the gas box.

In both instances the verge had to be dug up to clamp off the gas supply pipe while a new box was brought in. If either had crashed a yard either way the gas supply would have been safe.

In the last year the wall on the east side of the A286 outside Cooksbridge has twice been demolished and had to be rebuilt, as well as making sure the owner’s pets did not escape before it was made secure.

In the previous thirty years neither the wall nor the gas box had ever been hit.

There have now been eight serious crashes on this corner this year. There may be other less serious ones judging by the occasional new spread of broken glass that have not been included in this already large number.

Many hours of police, fire, ambulance, paramedics and utility services time has been taken up at huge cost.

Some say it is possible a lower speed limit than the 50mph recently put in place could cheaply solve some of the problem.

A policeman at the incident said it should ‘really be a 30mph limit judging by the accidents’.

Residents have written to the relevant councils, councillors and cabinet ministers and say they are not giving up in their attempts to make this a safer corner ‘not only for drivers but for themselves’.

 

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