A SPATE of accidents on the A590 has sparked fresh concern about the state of the ‘dangerous’ road.

Over the past seven weeks a teenage cyclist was flown to hospital in a critical condition after a crash near Levens, a man was cut free from his car after a collision at Newby Bridge and a 58-year-old was injured in a three-car smash at Swarthmoor.

The road, which stretches from junction 36 of the M6 to Barrow, is not only a concern for drivers, but for business owners and cyclists.

South Lakeland District Council’s housing and innovation portfolio holder, Cllr Jonathan Brook, said that he believed there was a “combination” of problems with the road.

“The volume on that road is at capacity, I guess,” he said. “And therefore, in most of the projections, it’s forecast that traffic volume will increase, in particular with the investment going into Barrow.”

He said there were “dangerous stretches” on the road and that improved lighting might help in some areas.


John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, was involved in an accident on the road at the Crooklands roundabout on the Dalton bypass, making him acutely aware that improvements need to be made.

“I know from personal experience how dangerous the A590 can be, especially at night in wet conditions,” said Mr Woodcock. “Some improvements have been made in recent years, but there are still accident blackspots and further investment should be prioritised for this and for increasing flood defences so the road can remain open.”

From an economic point of view, Suzanne Edgley, chairman of the Ulverston Business Alliance, said that the road was a concern as it caused meetings to be delayed and problems with deliveries.

Delays can often be extensive and coincide with peak driving hours. The collision at Newby Bridge on July 19 happened at 7.35am and caused the road to be shut until 10am.

High-profile events, such as the North Lonsdale Show, have also been affected by accidents on the road. There were major delays around the turn-off to the show at Urswick following a crash between a lorry and a car.

Ms Edgley thinks that there are simple actions that could be taken to improve the road.

“I don’t think the speed limits are always particularly clear and I know people get frustrated with people going slowly so they take a chance and overtake,” she said. “I do think it needs to be clearer. Some of the signs are obstructed by trees and shrubbery. It’s really important that people can see where changes happen.”

Lee Rayton, manager of Velo Bikes in Ulverston, sees the effect that accidents and delays on the road have on both the business and his client base.

“You know when it’s happening because it’s either very busy outside because people cannot get out or it’s dead because they cannot get in,” he said.

Mr Rayton said that he did not think there was anything wrong with the road itself, but that the problem generally was with those who were careless when driving on it.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, advised that when driving on unfamiliar roads, it was wise to plan journeys in advance “Adapt your speed to the conditions, especially if sight lines are restricted, and gather as much information as you can from road signs and markings as you drive along,” he said.

Mayor of Ulverston Cllr Mark Wilson said that it was a road that was under regular review through the Casualty Reduction and Safer Highways Group.

“Over the years there has been lots of speed lowering issues, like taking out the second lanes,” he said.

“We want appropriate speed limits and to make it accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Bob Henson, who lives in Colton and used to be a member of the Coniston Mountain Rescue Team, has particular concerns regarding the new roundabout at Greenodd.

Although Mr Henson believes that the roundabout has had a positive impact, he thinks that it still causes a threat to motorists.

“The A590 leading up to the roundabout from the west is two lanes wide but rapidly reduces to a single lane shortly after the roundabout,” he said. “It is not always apparent when pulling out from Greenodd whether or not an oncoming vehicle from the right is turning left to Greenodd or carrying straight on the A590.”

Mr Henson believes that by designating the left hand lane as drivers approached the roundabout from the west as a left turning lane only, drivers would more easily able to understand other motorists’ intentions.

A spokesman for Highways England said the number of incidents involving personal injuries between 2011 and 2015 had fallen from about 52 per year to 38.

“We are not complacent and we constantly review the network to identify trends, working with local communities and other interested groups to plan improvements,” he said.