Three crashes in one day lead to calls for action over A684 near Killington (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Three crashes in one day lead to calls for action over A684 near Killington
DRIVERS are calling for urgent action to resurface a dangerous stretch of road that has been the scene of a string of collisions in recent weeks.
Motorists fear that someone could be killed if work is not carried out on the A648 between Kendal and Sedbergh, where the ‘skiddy’ surface has left vehicles spinning out of control.
The blackspot, close to Lily Mere, near Killington, has been the scene of 11 collisions in three months – three of them last Wednesday.
More than 20 commuters have also written to South Lakes MP Tim Farron about ‘near misses’ and said urgent action needed to be taken to improve the road surface, just 800 yards from junction 37 of the M6.
Carol Thompson, 65, of Sedbergh, was hospitalised and has been in a back brace since her Hyundai 4x4 skidded off the road there.
“They need to do something as soon as possible,” she said. “I was going slowly because I always do round bends and I felt the back end of my car just go.
“I know I was lucky that I’m still here but the next person might not be.
“It seems everyone in Sedbergh has either been involved or knows someone who has been involved in an incident on the same bit of road.”
One man, whose daughter’s car overturned on the road, said she described it as feeling like she was ‘slipping on black ice’.
“My daughter was travelling well below the speed limit and she went into a complete skid,” he said.
“Her car flipped on to its roof. She’s lucky to be alive.”
Sandra Longlands, also of Sedbergh, said: “The road needs to be resurfaced. This is happening to people of all ages, including people who are careful and slow drivers, so this is a problem with the road, not with the drivers.”
One of those to write to Mr Farron was healthcare worker Josephine Lade, of Orton, who said that her car was written off after she lost control at less than 40mph on a right hand bend ‘as if on ice’.
Her car crashed into a wall and she was ‘catapulted’ back into the highway, where the car spun a further 180 degrees before coming to rest.
“One of the people who stopped to help me told me how their car had skidded immediately before they stopped for me,” she said.
Mr Farron said he had written several letters to Cumbria Highways to demand action but had received no reply.
“Those people having accidents, or near misses, are locals who drive from Kendal to Sedbergh every day and know the road,” he said.
“But more and more people are reporting that it’s really slippy after rain – much more so than it used to be.
“We’ve been lucky so far in that the accidents have generally been at low speed, and not serious. But something must be done urgently before a serious accident occurs.”
A Cumbria County Council spokesman said ‘Slippery Road’ signs had been erected and an advisory 20mph speed limit introduced, with speed indicator devices.
“This section of the A684 near Killington was resurfaced four years ago,” he said.
A detailed investigation was under way after information was received from drivers. “Should further engineering works be needed they can be added to next year’s surface treatment programme which is the soonest that it can be done effectively.
“Our accident records show there have been five reported slight injury accidents and two reported damage only accidents in the last three years on this section of road though we also recognise other non-injury accidents are occurring which are not reported to us. Hopefully the remedial actions being taken will help address any concerns.”
A ROAD surfacing expert says it is ‘unusual’ for a road to become so dangerously slippy four years after it was laid.
Delwyn Roberts, surfacing manager for North Wales company Jones Bros, said roads were normally at their most skiddy when the bitumen had just been freshly laid.
“These circumstances seem to be unusual but it could be because the aggregate used in the surface has worn smooth more quickly than is normal.
“This doesn’t mean the aggregate is not of the required standard, but aggregates wear at different rates. It depends which part of a quarry it is taken from. Nearer the crest of a quarry it is likely that the stone is not as good as lower down and this could lead to failure issues.”
Mr Roberts said there were two potential solutions to creating a surface with better grip.
The smooth surface could be ‘roughed up’. Methods include shot-blasting, diamond grooving, bush hammering or high velocity water blasting.
Or a new better wearing surface could be applied, known as surface dressing. This involves laying bitumen and stone chippings on the road.
Mr Roberts said there were potential issues which each method.
Roughing up the surface was both disruptive and time-consuming and some processes, such as shot-blasting, could not be carried out in the wet, while surface dressing, which was the most cost-effective solution, could not be undertaken in temperatures below ten degrees or when it rained.
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