Action at last on Forty Foot
ALMOST exactly a year since the death of a seven-year-old boy and his father sparked a campaign, action is to be taken on the deadly Forty Foot Road. On Tuesday, Cambridgeshire County Council is expected to agree formally to install average speed cameras
ALMOST exactly a year since the death of a seven-year-old boy and his father sparked a campaign, action is to be taken on the deadly Forty Foot Road.
On Tuesday, Cambridgeshire County Council is expected to agree formally to install average speed cameras along the road.
The road claimed five lives in six weeks last winter, including seven-year-old Jordan Hawes and his father, Dean, 27.
The two drowned when their car left the road around 5pm on December 21. They were driving from their home in Chatteris to collect Jordan's mum, Michelle, from work in Huntingdon.
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Mrs Hawes has never spoken publicly about the accident.
On February 1, three more people, Portuguese factory workers, died when their car left the road around 5am.
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Jose Marmeleira, 49, Cidaline de Oliveria, 46, and Carlos Condecco, 46, died when their car entered the river.
Jose's son, Miguel, 19, managed to swim to the bank having seen his father die in the car. Cidaline, a grandmother, was working with the others at the Rustler Produce factory in Chatteris to help her grandson through university in Portugal.
Yesterday, the managing director of the company, Jason Burgess, who has been working with the county council for road safety ever since the accident, welcomed the speed cameras but also called for other action.
The road is narrow, unlit, it has no pedestrian footpaths and it has a deep ditch on one side and the river on the other. It is built on drained land and drivers say "it moves underneath you".
It was on another, similarly bleak, stretch of the Forty Foot Road, between Ramsey and Ramsey St Mary's, that 17-year-old Tom Jones from Ramsey was killed by a hit and run driver.
He and his friends were walking home in the dark in April last year when Tom was hit by a car and flung into the river.
This will be the first time that average speed cameras have been used in the UK to reduce accidents along riverside roads and the first time they have been used in Cambridgeshire.
If members of Cambridgeshire County Council's cabinet agree on Tuesday, work will start in the new year.
County Councillor Mac McGuire, lead member for highways, said he was
confident they would get Government
funding for the scheme, expected to cost £300,000.
He said: "It is quite clear that some motorists are prepared to drive at horrendous speeds along the Forty Foot.
"We should start work on it as soon as we can. If this is successful it could be considered across the UK."
HUNDREDS of people called for action on the Forty Foot Bank Road,after a campaign launched by The Hunts Post and its sister paper, The Cambs Times.
The campaign was launched in February, and every day since then readers have gone online to call for measures including average speed cameras, a 30mph speed limit, an overtaking ban and lighting.
Fenland councillor Alan Melton called for the road to be closed and there has also been support from readers for that.
At the launch of the campaign, Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, said: "No action is not an option."
On Monday, when he heard the news about the speed cameras, he said: "This is a dangerous and treacherous piece of road which regularly has people tragically dying on it.
"I very much hope the decision of the council's cabinet is to save lives and implement this proposal. It will be a great tragedy for the local community if the county council were to leave the road as it is because if they do people will continue to die."
In March, a petition calling for action on the Forty Foot road was signed by 1,800 people.
It was presented to the county council by Ramsey town councillor, Ray Powell, and Chatteris town councillor, Chris Howes.
The petition was signed by residents and councillors form Ramsey, Chatteris, Doddington and Warboys. An additional petition of 149 signatures was presented by residents of Benwick.
Yesterday (Tuesday) Councillor Powell said: "This is nothing but a devil road. It has taken a lot of lives."
He added: "We will get cameras but it will take a lot longer than we hoped, but, if we get them, I will be over the moon. This is what everyone worked so hard for.