Senior councillor demands crash figures for 'death trap' road

Reporter:

Matt Sims and Phil Robinson

A LEADING councillor is demanding exact figures for accidents on a “deathtrap” road which has claimed two more lives.

The latest carnage on the A483 just outside Chirk saw the drivers of a car and a cattle lorry killed in an horrific three-vehicle smash on the bridge over the River Ceiriog, between the Halton and Gledrid roundabouts.

In the wake of the tragedy just before 4.30pm on Monday, Cllr Ian Roberts, who represents Chirk on Wrexham Council and is North Wales Police Authority chairman, said: “This section of road is a death trap and in the light of this dreadful accident I will be renewing my calls for measures to make it safer.

“This stretch of road is now so good that it attracts a huge amount of traffic between the Midlands and Wales but it is not fit for purpose.

“I believe the main problem is that at this point the road goes from a single carriageway to three lanes for overtaking in the direction of Wrexham but is only single carriageway in the opposite direction.

“It should actually be dual carriageway in both directions and that is what I will be calling for.

“I have raised the issue time and again over the years but now I will step up the campaign.

“However, first we need to get the precise accident figures to see where the hotspots are.”

Cllr Roberts’s call for a dual carriageway have been backed by his fellow Chirk councillor, Terry Evans.

He said: “This stretch of road is definitely a death trap and after this latest tragedy the situation needs to be looked at as soon as possible.”

Neither West Mercia Police nor North Wales Police could yesterday confirm how many accidents have happened on that particular stretch of A5.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: “There are currently no plans to provide dual carriageway at this location.

“The trunk road network is under constant review and appropriate action taken on a priority basis.”

As recently as March 1, a 38-year-old driver from Wrexham, Dean Pugh, died after his car plunged down an embankment on the A483 between the Halton and Gledrid roundabouts.

Throughout yesterday the A5 between Halton and Gledrid remained closed as emergency services and workmen battled to clear wreckage from the scene and repair major damage to the roadside safety barriers.

This caused massive congestion in nearby Chirk. Steve McCardle, who runs a butcher’s shop in the main street, said: “The traffic has been very heavy all day, which means business has been quieter than normal.”

Paul Rogers, who runs Chirk Service Station and has an interest in the Hand Hotel, said: “It’s been bumper-to-bumper traffic, just like it was about 20 years ago before the bypass was built.

Sheila Krishnan, who works in sales at the nearby Lion Quays Waterside Resort, said the hotel was nearly fully booked and as of yesterday morning, there had been no cancellations as a result of road closures.

“We’re on the A5 but from here traffic is passing as normal and we have had no cancellations so far.”

Monday's fatal smash involved a silver Mercedes E200 estate car, a double decker Volvo livestock carrier and a Volvo tanker lorry.

The two men who died were the drivers of the Mercedes and the livestock lorry.

The driver of the tanker was treated for a minor head injury.

Several cattle in the livestock trailer were either killed or had to be put down by police marksmen following the collision.

The Mercedes is believed to have been travelling southbound, from Wales to Shropshire, while the two lorries are believed to have been heading in the opposite direction.

Neither of the two men who died have been formally identified and their names are unlikely to be released for some time, according to West Mercia Police.

The coroner for Mid and North Shropshire, John Ellery, has been informed.

A spokesperson for the Brennteg Group, which owns the tanker involved, said: “Our driver was slightly injured and was released from the scene soon after the incident occurred.

“We continue to support the investigation.

“The company would like to express their condolences to all concerned.”

Officials from Environment Agency Wales attended the accident scene because of the close proximity of the river.

But a spokesperson said: “We found no sign of any environmental impact.”

Police have urged anyone who witnessed the crash who has not yet spoken to officers to contact Oswestry Police on 0300 333 3000.

See full story in the Leader

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