Pressure mounts for safety action on A285 after latest car crashes

The Duncton Straight where the only 'no overtaking' zone in Sussex has been installed

The Duncton Straight where the only 'no overtaking' zone in Sussex has been installed

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IT has been listed as one of the ten most dangerous roads in Britain by the Road Safety Foundation.

And in the past month it has claimed three more lives, with a further four motorists being injured.

The A285 stretching between Petworth and Chichester is a busy commuter road with long straight stretches as well as twists and curves, and a steep hill.

Apart from the latest accidents, in the three years to August there were 61 reported injury accidents between the A27 and Petworth which resulted in two deaths, 29 serious injuries and 76 slight injuries.

A WSCC spokesman said last month’s death crashes were still under investigation by highways experts and Sussex Police and it was not yet known what action might be taken.

But he said: “The route between Eartham Lane and Duncton is being investigated under the Chichester South County Local Committee’s infrastructure plan. A feasibility study for a route safety scheme is being worked on, with any appropriate measures identified to be installed in 2015/16 works programme.”

Travelling south, the first ‘black spot’ is the narrow Coultershaw Bridge just south of Petworth, further along there is the notorious Duncton Straight.

Duncton villagers to the south again fought for lower speed limits and signs warning of the dangers of the road which splits the village and snakes along to the Seaford College entrance and then up the infamous Duncton hill.

Then there is the ‘black spot’ Upwaltham stretch of the road.

COULTERSHAW BRIDGE

At Coultershaw Bridge the problem starts with a narrowing of the road as it crosses the bridge on a bend turning into a single carriageway

In 2006 a woman motorist miraculously escaped without serious injury after her car plunged off the bridge and ended up on its roof in four feet of water.

Investigators at the time said she had apparently lost control and went up over the side of the barrier.

Racegoers heading for Goodwood also had a lucky escape when their coach collided with a van after a collision with a van just south of the bridge.

The coach was prevented from toppling over an embankment by a tree at the side of the road.

Less than two weeks ago, a 37-year-old motorcyclist left the road here and crashed into a fence while travelling north.

He was taken to hospital with a broken leg.

DUNCTON STRAIGHT

A short distance further south of the Coultershaw bridge, on the Duncton Straight, no less than six cars have crashed into the home of Chris Davies which stands on the A285’s junction with a country lane.

It is a long, straight, wide stretch of road with a 60mph speed limit.

But, said Mr Davies: “90 per cent of the crashes are caused by drivers travelling south. They see the straight road ahead and don’t notice the car in front is stopping to turn right at the junction.”

He has made repeated pleas for safety measures which have largely fallen on deaf ears.

In the latest incident last month, a car was trying to overtake a trailer when it hit a car driven by an elderly female driver. Both cars ploughed into Mr Davies’ home.

In 2005, Mr Davies crawled through shattered glass in an overturned car to rescue a child after another accident at the black spot.

Two months later, two drivers escaped serious injury in another crash and a year later a car careered through the kitchen wall of his home, causing £150,000 of damage. The driver was unhurt.

In 2011 Mr Davies saved the life of a motorcyclist who catapulted over a car and hit the corner of his home, and a year later two more cars crashed into it, but the drivers were unhurt.

DUNCTON VILLAGE AND DUNCTON HILL

Eight people including a pregnant woman were taken to hospital following a collision between a bus and a car outside the entrance to Seaford College in March, 2007.

It was the scene of a similar collision just a few weeks earlier.

From the college entrance, the road climbs a steep hill, winding at the top where it is crossed by another major road, particularly busy during Goodwood events. This hill is yet another black spot.

Less than two weeks ago a passenger had to be cut out of a car at the top of the hill after two cars collided. Two more were treated at the roadside and all three taken to hospital.

It has been the scene of several serious crashes and in 2002 a 
45-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a collision with a car travelling north down the hill.

UPWALTHAM

TWO elderly women died at Upwaltham three weeks ago in the latest of a series of fatal accidents on this section of the A285.

They were turning right when they were in collision with another car whose driver and passenger suffered serious injuries.

Residents have been campaigning for improved road safety through the Upwaltham Valley for many years.

There was another fatal accident there in January, 2002, when a driver lost control of his car after overtaking on the approach to a left-hand bend and ploughed into a lorry.

Three months later, a motorcyclist died in a head-on collision with a car nearly a mile north of the A285’s junction with Droke Lane.

Just north of Chichester, a month ago 16 year old Jasmine Elkasmi died when the driver of the car she was travelling in lost control and rolled over at the Tinwood Lane junction with the A285 at Halnaker.

SAFETY MEASURES

Duncton villagers have long been fighting for improvements and after the latest accident on the Straight they are renewing pressure.

Their campaigns have so far resulted in a ‘route safety speed management scheme’ between Duncton and Petworth in 2005.

A ‘no overtaking’ zone, the only one in Sussex with vehicle activated signs, was added in 2008. But there are still no double while lines.

A county council spokesman said: “A route safety speed management scheme was introduced from the top of Duncton Hill to the northern end of Duncton village in 2010/11.

“It included road widening and new 30mph speed limits in Duncton, resurfacing and vehicle activated signs on Duncton Hill.

“New warning signs have been erected on the bends south of Seaford College.

“Three vehicle activated signs have been installed in Halnaker, two junction warning and a speed limit reminder, high friction surfacing at the Boxgrove crossroads and the New Road junction.

“A mobile speed camera is also operated.