I feel very sad at yet another accident on my much-used road, the A697.
The latest is on some very precarious bends. The correct speed for the modern car on those bends is a maximum of 50. Otherwise the A697 is one of the safest single-carriage roads in the country.
It has a speed limit of 60 and 30 through the villages for cars. The speed limit for lorries is 50. I have driven the A697 at 50 during times of fuel shortages and then there is no need to change gear on the whole trip.
However, I have regularly seen some extremely dangerous driving on this road. I have been overtaken by a lorry a couple of times when driving at 55mph and white vans often when driving at 60.
Only last week I saw a BMW overtake close to the top bend going north from Longframlington where the road has red dividing lines. Traffic that was coming south was very close to him. A day later, last Friday, I was overtaken by a motor cyclist when descending from Longframlington Moor at the bend about a mile from the bottom at Thrunton. As I was at 60mph at that time, I reckon he was doing a ton and there was a second bike chasing him.
The first rider only just scraped between me and a driver appearing around the bend travelling south.
Practically every weekend there is a motorbike club travelling the A697 during the summer in convoy, all competing at the top speed.
I must say I cannot see that further restrictions asked for by Glen Sanderson will improve the situation if every class of driver seems to break the present restrictions.
The recording lights at Powburn are working well and perhaps all the villages need them.
I have not seen a police car checking the A697 for some years. Sometimes they used to stop at the Rothbury turn-off under the bridge and then again at the top of the bends after the Alnwick-Rothbury crossing but they have not been there for years.
If the A1 really gets made into a dual carriageway then the lorries using the A697 to reach north of Wooler will stay with the A1 and that will give great relief butI fear it is all just promises for the election.
We have so often been promised that improvement but all London has done is to reduce the A1 from top grading to one which means the county only gets 60 per cent of the costs of its upkeep. I wonder which party did that since the 60s.
It has always been important that there were three main roads into Scotland – the M6 on the west side, the A1 on the east and the A697, much used as the shortest road from the centre and east side. It is far shorter that the A1 but is badly affected in winter conditions.
Anne Wrangham, by email