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Streetlights put in after tragedy

PUBLISHED: 14:40 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:04 05 July 2010

TWO years after a retired couple were killed when they were hit by a car on a stretch of road of poorly lit road, streetlights have been put in place to make a notorious level crossing safer for pedestrians.

TWO years after a retired couple were killed when they were hit by a car on a stretch of road of poorly lit road, streetlights have been put in place to make a notorious level crossing safer for pedestrians.

Gerald and Henny McDonald were crossing the A12 at Darsham, south of Southwold, in December 2006 when they were hit by a car and killed.

The McDonalds, of Gun Hill in Southwold, were walking from Darsham railway station to the passenger car park - located on the other side of the busy Lowestoft to Ipswich road - when the accident occurred.

An inquest into their deaths held in Ipswich in July this year heard that having no lights made that rural stretch of the A12 a dangerous place for pedestrians to have to cross.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death but said the lack of streetlighting had contributed to the tragedy.

The tragedy prompted Suffolk County Council to invest in lighting for the stretch of road and now new street lamps have been switched on to make the crossing safer.

A spokesman for the county council said: “Installing streetlights has been a relatively easy and straightforward response to the findings of the inquest.”

Although the installation of street lamps would usually indicate that the section of road has a 30mph speed limit, the existing 40mph limit on this stretch will be maintained.

The council spokesman said: “It was not considered that the speed was a problem at the crossing, just the issue with visibility.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said the possibility of relocating the car park to the same side of the A12 as the station had been looked at, but no land was available on that side.

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