Chirk bypass: action at last on killer bridge

Reporter:

Thomas Morton and Emily Davies

CRUCIAL safety measures could finally be installed on a deadly stretch of road.

Options being explored include painting double white lines to prevent overtaking on the A5/A483 Chirk bypass.

A review of the road is being carried out by the Welsh Government after two motorists were killed on the road in March last year.

Improvements to the A5/A483 south of Wrexham – also nicknamed “suicide lane” – could be made, but only once a review by the Welsh Government is completed.

Several serious accidents have occurred along the stretch of road between the Gledrid roundabout and Ruabon dual carriageway, including a fatal accident in March last year when two men – Stuart Davies and William Thomas Hefin Jones – died when a cattle lorry and a car were involved in a collision.

Inspector Alan Hughes backed a proposal made at a meeting of Chirk Town Council for a hatched area to be placed along the approaches and across the River Ceiriog Viaduct.

He also suggested a double white line banning overtaking on the approach to the viaduct.

He said: “Most of the incidents are down to driver error, but whenever there is an accident we have a site visit along with the respective authority and a review is undertaken. The accident in March was due to overtaking and that review is currently with the Welsh Government and I haven’t been privy to their decision yet, so at the moment I can’t say anymore.”

He said reducing the width of the lanes would make overtaking less inviting and he was hopeful for some action from the Welsh Government.

“Hopefully that will receive a positive response, but it will never stop some people as the road is really inviting overtaking,” he added.

Other suggestions put to Insp Hughes included erecting barriers across the bridge, placing average speed cameras along the entire stretch of the road and reducing the speed limit in certain areas.

Following the meeting council chairman Jackie Allen said: “We are looking forward to hearing the full report from the Welsh Government once finished and that measures will be put in place to cut down on the incidents.”

The council will write to the Welsh Government stating they have Insp Hughes’ support.
Chirk campaigner Sally Poppitt, who started a petition to make the road safer last year, was encouraged by the news.

Her on-line petition to the Labour government attracted 500 signatures before the 2010 General Election.

She said: “When the Government changed they took it off-line and never re-instated it.

“I must say from that point on I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall.

“Personally I think both sides of the border need to get together to do something about it. We wanted to unite both sides. I drop my kids off in Gobowen and the whole stretch of road is lethal in my opinion.”

Chirk North councillor Ian Roberts, who is also Mayor of Wrexham, said improved lighting and road markings on the same road north of Ruabon had made a big difference:

He said: “There were some horrific accidents on that stretch of road, but we haven’t had anything like that type of incident recently.”

He said he would like to see the same kind of attention between Ruabon and Oswestry.

“Something has to be done,” he added.

“Anything that makes the roads around Wrexham safer has got to be a good thing.”

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