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Residents appeal for changes to accident blackspot

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Worried residents near a notorious accident blackspot have renewed an appeal for changes to a road junction.

The call came after a serious crash this month when a woman on a motorbike turned right on to South Road in Smith's from the private Zuill's Park Road and was in collision with another motorcyclist.

Both were taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment.

But residents said at a meeting with roads engineers that the stretch of road east of St Mark's Church had been dangerous for decades.

Leyton Rahman, the principal highways engineer at the Department of Works and Engineering outlined a two-phase safety measures plan.

Mr Rahman said at a virtual meeting on Monday night that the speed of vehicles on South Road, especially motorcycles, was the top risk factor.

Kirk Outerbridge, the department's chief engineer, told the meeting there would be “a marked improvement”.

He added: “It's my intention to have this moving as quickly as possible. Certainly the accident last week is not lost on us. We know time is against us on this, so we are moving expeditiously.”

Almost 400 people signed a petition in June to remove an oleander hedge and fence that borders a field at the junction.

Residents said they carried out their own assessment after the latest accident.

Their report said poor visibility made the risk of more crashes “extremely high” and that three “serious accidents” had happened since the petition was handed in.

The document also highlighted a fatal crash in 2005 when a construction truck pulled out to turn right on South Road.

The truck was in collision with a man on a motorcycle heading east, who died as a result.

Petitioners asked for the removal of the fence and hedge, which they said hid westbound traffic from view to vehicles leaving Zuill's Park Road and forced them to stop sharply and present a hazard to eastbound traffic coming over the hill.

Mr Rahman said safety plans included taking the hedge barrier several feet back from South Road — but warned it would require the purchase of a strip of private land.

But he added that quick-fix proposals for South Road included extra warning signs, and rumble strips to slow down traffic that residents complained had grown faster than ever since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Rahman did not give details, but he said accident records from police for the last five years showed “most of the accidents are of a particular type and happen for particular reasons”.

One resident, who has lived there for almost 50 years, said the junction had been “problematic the entire time”.

He added: “The issue that we have is how is it going to get fixed, and when? To me the ‘when' is more important than how.

“We need to get it fixed before somebody dies.”

Mr Rahman said phase one could be started inside two weeks, but the land purchase and alterations to the junction would take longer to implement.

The scene of a serious collision on September 19, at the junction of Zuill's Park Road and South Road (Photograph supplied)

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Published September 30, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated September 30, 2020 at 12:53 pm)

Residents appeal for changes to accident blackspot

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