Sat, 17 Sept 2016
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has said a previous Highways England study on the A34 should be fully implemented to improve safety, while a wider review of the dangers of the road must also be carried out.
Mr Benyon was speaking following a meeting with neighbouring MPs, Ed Vaizey, MP for Didcot and Wantage, and Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.
They are calling for improvements on the dual carriageway which runs through their three constituencies.
All three MPs will meet with roads minister John Hayes in the coming weeks as part of a campaign for urgent action to improve safety on the A34.
Safety on the trunk road has been highlighted following a number of fatal accidents, including an eight-vehicle pile-up on August 10 which claimed the lives of 45-year-old mother Tracey Houghton, her two sons Ethan and Josh, aged 13 and 11, and her partner’s 11-year-old daughter Aimee Goldsmith.
And, just two weeks later, three-year-old Isla Wiggin and her unborn baby brother died in a crash at Hinksey Hill in Oxfordshire.
The recent fatalities prompted the founding of the A34 Action Group calling for safety improvements, while a petition, which has so far gained more than 2,000 signatures, is calling for a reduction in the speed limit along the dangerous stretch of road.
Mr Benyon said the issue of safety has been ignored for too long on the vital trunk road and the MPs would be pressing for all the relevant authorities to step up and take responsibility for making the necessary improvements as soon as possible.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News this week, Mr Benyon said: “A feasibility study that Highways England carried out suggested some improvements that have yet to be done.
“One of them is a traffic management system, which, in principle, would mean installing electronic signage telling people when and where there are delays so they can manage their journeys.
“It also recommended improvements to various access points on the road.
“The no-brainer is the study should be fully implemented, and a wider review of how this road is managed and its safety should be carried out.
“My own gut feeling is there are various points where there are safety issues – like the access on the south to north at East Ilsley is an area of concern – and speed on certain parts of it.
“It’s a straight road but it’s narrow, there are a lot of cars and HGVs driving too fast so it does need better management.
“It needs all of us to be aware that it’s a very dangerous road.”