50mph speed limit needed at dangerous junctions

THIS evening, Sunday, April 29, I was driving north on the A1 near Felton about 6pm when all traffic was diverted by police onto the minor road which runs past Swarland Grain Driers.

On coming back on to the A1 just north of Swarland Grain Driers at the Guyzance crossing, I could see that there had been a serious road traffic accident involving at least two cars on the southbound carriageway.

My heart goes out to the occupants of the vehicles and their families for them to suffer this heartache.

This is a very dangerous junction, as is the junction at the north exit from Felton Village.

What do we need to do to convince Traffic Management and the Highways Agency to do something positive about these junctions?

Sticking a bit of glue on the road surface and a bit of fine grit or a bit of bright paint is not going to make a hapeth of difference.

The problem with the Guyzance junction is that it is just over the brow of a hill so if you are waiting to cross to the west you do so when you perceive the road to be clear from the north. As you cross, you are then presented with traffic hurtling along towards you sometimes at speeds of 80 to 90mph.

Yes, we know 70mph is the legal limit but many drive over this and in most cases it might be safe to do so ... on a straight, dry road in good daylight and without any cross-overs. But not at this location.

At the Felton (north) junction with the A1, if you are travelling west across the A1 you have a similar scenario to the Guyzance junction, made even worse by the fact that the junction is actually in a bend, so if you are sitting at the junction waiting to cross, your long-distance views of traffic from the north are serverely hampered.

Equally, traffic travelling east across the dual carriageway at this point is obscured from the view of southbound traffic while vehicles are on the central reservation.

Again, you have to make a judgement about when to put your foot to the floor to get across the junction as quickly as possible.

Several years ago, at Stannington, when the A1 was being re-constructed with ‘sunken roundabouts’, the speed limit was reduced to 50 mph for a couple of years while work was carried out.

I am sure that the reason for this was obviously to avoid accidents.

So why can’t the same consideration by applied here?

It seems to me that because the Guyzance and Felton junctions and others along this route are so dangerous that an emergency order should be sought to restrict the speed to 50mph for about two miles of the A1.

It will delay motorists by about half a minute on their journey time but could make such a difference to the local communities and other road users along this very dangerous part of the A1.

The restriction should start prior to the new layby on the southbound carriageway north of the Guyzance junction and continue south to ¼mile or so past the Felton (north) junction. This could actually save lives.

Let us see some common sense from our community leaders – Northumberland County Council and Highways Agency, please act now to save lives.

Innocent lives are in your hands.

Bruce Hewison,

Alnwick Town Councillor