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Speed survey planned for Mantha campaign

PUBLISHED: 15:08 08 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:41 05 July 2010

A CAMPAIGN to make vital safety improvements to a Lowestoft crossing has received a welcome boost after transport chiefs revealed they will be carrying out a survey of traffic speeds.

A CAMPAIGN to make vital safety improvements to a Lowestoft crossing has received a welcome boost after transport chiefs revealed they will be carrying out a survey of traffic speeds.

After more than 10 months of campaigning, the Highways Agency will investigate the speed of road users on the A12 Yarmouth Road, near its junction with Hollingsworth Road.

Last March, six-year-old Samantha Castledine died after she was in collision with a 17-tonne lorry as she made her way to Gunton Primary School.

Since then, a community campaign - backed by Samantha's family, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, The Journal and more than 5,000 people who have filled in forms and signed petitions - has supported the need for change.

With Suffolk County Council continuing their efforts to find a second lollipop crossing patrol officer at the scene there was a double boost this week as the campaign attracted another 84 signatures and Mr Blizzard received a letter from the Highways Agency agreeing to the survey.

Information requested by Mr Blizzard and The Journal has revealed that the A12 crossing at Yarmouth Road - dubbed as “a pen” by the MP for the way people are forced to wait in the middle of the road on an island _ is one of only eight school crossing patrols operating on a trunk road in England.

In a letter to Mr Blizzard, Ranjit Mistry - the Highways Agency route performance manager for the A12 north - confirmed that there was one crossing on the A40 in Gloucestershire, five in East Sussex and one in the Cumbria/North Lancashire/North Yorkshire area.

The road chiefs also informed Mr Blizzard that the last speed survey was carried out in July 2002 and that officials would return to update their statistics 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's eldest sister Jo Woolnough said: “When you drive over the bridge there are 20mph zones everywhere - but what is the point of slowing down traffic in areas like this when you can't on the main trunk road into Lowestoft?

“This road (Yarmouth Road) gets such a vast range of vehicles using it - from school buses to articulated lorries - so maybe a 20mph zone on this crossing would be a good idea - especially when statistics show that cutting speeds from 30mph to 20mph might be the difference in saving a life,” she said.

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