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Breakthrough in road safety battle

PUBLISHED: 09:41 04 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:37 05 July 2010

Campaigners fighting for safety improvements to a road where a Lowestoft schoolgirl died have achieved a breakthrough after transport chiefs pledged to carry out a survey of traffic speeds.

Campaigners fighting for safety improvements to a road where a Lowestoft schoolgirl died have achieved a breakthrough after transport chiefs pledged to carry out a survey of traffic speeds.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard has received a letter from the Highways Agency agreeing to carry out an investigation at the A12 Yarmouth Road, near its junction with Hollingsworth Road.

It follows the death of six-year-old Samantha Castledine, who died after she was in collision with a 17-tonne lorry as she made her way to Gunton Primary School last March.

The lorry driver was cleared of any blame for Samantha's death, but the accident has focused attention on the need for safety improvements at the site.

In its letter to Mr Blizzard, the Highways Agency says the last speed survey was carried out in July 2002 and that officials would return to update their statistics during this month, before deciding if safety improvements are needed.

Mr Blizzard said: “It is another step forward, but I do think they need to get on with it. I'm convinced there is a need for increased signage or other measures to slow traffic at this sensitive spot.

“I welcome this survey and I am convinced that the Highways Agency will have to take measures. I don't like the fact that we've got children crossing this main trunk road through the north of the town and we do have to take action. There are 20mph zones all around Lowestoft and this area is equally as important.”

Samantha died after the front wheel of the bike she was sitting on started to roll into the road from the central reservation where she was waiting with an adult relative.

Thousands of people signed petitions demanding a new pedestrian crossing at the site, but the Highways Agency said there was no immediate prospect of this happening after Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean ruled the design of the road was not to blame for the tragedy.

In recent weeks, the focus of the campaign has turned to the need for a second lollipop crossing patrol officer to help children cross safely.

Suffolk County Council has agreed to fund the scheme, which will see the two crossing patrol officers working in tandem to stop traffic either side of the central reservation.

Anyone interested in working as a lollipop man or woman, should call Mary Jarrett at Suffolk County Council on 01473 265006.

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