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Safety measures put forward to improve dangerous A34

Highways England review recommends creating longer entry and exit roads and a crawler lane

Safety measures put forward to improve dangerous A34

MEASURES to improve safety on the A34, the scene of horrific crashes through West Berkshire in recent years, have been announced.

Longer exit and entry roads, better lay-bys, improved signage and a crawler lane at East Ilsley have been identified as ways to improve safety on the road.

Highways England’s A34 Safety Review looked at six areas between the M4 and the M40 to see whether accidents were being caused by the design of the road.

It identified a list of specific issues, which included length and design of merging junctions, spacing and layout of lay-bys, overgrown vegetation, gradient of Gore Hill (East Ilsley) and insufficient signage. 

The proposals follow pressure from campaigners and local MPs, after a number of deaths and crashes on the busy road.

Tracy Houghton, 45, her two sons Ethan and Josh, 13 and 11, and her partner’s daughter Aimee Goldsmith, 11, were killed when a lorry ploughed into stationary traffic at 50mph in August last year. 

Five other people were injured in the eight-vehicle collision between the East Ilsley and West Ilsley junctions.

The tragedy followed the death of Gavin Roberts, 28, on the same stretch of road in June that year.

Both crashes were caused by drivers using mobile phones while driving.

Highways England’s latest recommendations were published in Westminster yesterday (Wednesday).

Newbury MP Richard Benyon said: “I am really pleased that Highways England has recognised the seriousness of the problem on the A34 and has made such sensible and comprehensive recommendations.

“It’s particularly good to see that these include reconfiguration of the north-bound junction at East Ilsley with the possibility of a crawler lane at this point.

“With better signage to enforce the HGV ban in the outside lane on Gore Hill, plus innovative Vehicle Activated Signs, this would make a real difference to safety on this section of the road.

“This is a great step forward, but the fight is not over. Along with other stakeholders, we will now be lobbying the Department for Transport to take action as soon as possible to implement these proposals.”

Following calls for action from campaigners who formed the A34 Action Group, Highways England presented a first draft of its safety review in April this year.

The review said that, while the A34 was statistically no more dangerous than other roads, safety issues on the stretch by East Ilsley were highlighted.

The report recognised the huge economic impact caused by hold-ups and collisions, given the increasing importance of the road as a major north-south transport link.

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Article comments

  • alisdair_c

    09/11/2017 - 23:11

    CALL FOR PUBLIC RESPONSE: In response to the Highways England A34 Safety Review Project Summary report released last month, and the impending deadline for feedback to be presented to the Transport Minister on 25th November, the A34 Action Group has created a public feedback survey in order to collate in a quantifiable way the public response to this report and the proposed solutions within it. The original report and the survey can be found here: Specifically the survey can be found here: Please complete this survey and share to any pages / groups you feel relevant. There is no guarantee of changes, but by doing nothing to show the public desire for change, the assumption will be that the demand has subsided. Please use this golden opportunity!


  • Louise


    28/10/2017 - 07:07

    And yet another multi vehicle smash at East Ilsley (A34 N) on 27th:


  • Numerate grumpy

    26/10/2017 - 19:07

    Bombey is half right and half wrong. Yes, the 2 appalling fatal crashes were caused by Polish lorry drivers fiddling with their smartphones to sort out their music. But every week one reads of lesser accidents (thankfully no one killed) caused by collisions and I would argue that the road layout is likely to be a cause in many cases. The lack of a rigorously enforced lower speed limit is a major shortcoming in the proposals. Of course, the other curse of the road, lorries tail gating frightened car drivers, will only be dealt with when all cars have front and rear cameras and the police take action.


    • Bombey

      27/10/2017 - 13:01

      Just to clarify, the family of 4 were killed by a Polish lorry driver who lives in the UK, although what his nationality has to do with it I have no idea. Gavin Roberts was killed by a chap called Lewis Stratford, driving a Vauxhall Corsa.


  • Bombey

    26/10/2017 - 18:06

    Total waste of time - the five deaths were caused by idiots using mobile devices whilst driving. Not the length of slip roads or the number of laybys.


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