Forty Foot Road: Call for action

WE want action. That is the verdict of the hundreds of people who took part in the Forty Foot Road poll run by The Hunts Post and its sister paper, The Cambs Times. The poll, run for four weeks, has now closed. We wanted to find out what you want to do ab

WE want action. That is the verdict of the hundreds of people who took part in the Forty Foot Road poll run by The Hunts Post and its sister paper, The Cambs Times. The poll, run for four weeks, has now closed.

We wanted to find out what you want to do about the deadly Forty Foot Bank Road between Ramsey and Chatteris where five people died in six weeks.

After the tragedies of December 21, when a father and son died, and on February 1 when three people died on their way to work, people have demanded that the road be made safer.

Currently, the road, which is built on peat, is uneven and unlit. It began as a track for walkers and horses in the 17th century when the Forty Foot Drain was cut by Scottish and Dutch prisoners of war.


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It is now used by fast traffic, including heavy lorries. The speed limit is 50mph and drivers are regularly prosecuted for driving at 70 and 80mph. Overtaking is allowed. At night, the road is pitch dark, there being no houses nearby and the road is bordered by the river on one side and a deep ditch on the other.

We asked you to vote for:

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* Changes including: a lower speed limit, a ban on overtaking, speed cameras and lighting.

* Close the road - as called for by Chatteris councillor Alan Melton.

* No Change.

Some 90 per cent of respondents wanted action. Over 50 per cent wanted safety measures put in place. Most people wanted all the measures we mentioned and some wanted the option of safety barriers considered too. Nearly 40 per cent wanted the road closed. The rest wanted no change.

* THERE have also been two petitions presented to Cambridgeshire County Council signed by over 1,000 people from Ramsey, Chatteris, Benwick, Doddington and Warboys. The petition was presented in February by Councillors Ray Powell and Chris Howes, from Ramsey and Chatteris town councils respectively. They are both members of Huntingdonshire District Council, which is also backing the call for action.

* THE challenge has been taken up by Cambridgeshire County Council, whose officers have applauded suggestions made by readers.

After a meeting on March 14, engineers are now working on proposals to put before the council's cabinet at a meeting early in May.

Russell de Ville, the county's head of road safety, said: "We considered the issues raised by readers and in petitions. There are some sound suggestions but possibly some practical difficulties. The next step is to get to the bottom of the technicalities." In the meantime, he said the council wanted to begin an education campaign about driving along dangerous Fen roads.

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