Forty Foot Road: Give us facts not all this hysteria

ONE wonders if your readers are getting as fed up as I am with media sensationalism. It might help if the content was factually correct, but it isn t. Presumably, the sole objective is to stir up some sort of mass hysteria, which in today s society is not

ONE wonders if your readers are getting as fed up as I am with media sensationalism. It might help if the content was factually correct, but it isn't.

Presumably, the sole objective is to stir up some sort of mass hysteria, which in today's society is not particularly difficult, as it appears that every error, mishap or tragedy is always somebody else's fault, those directly involved being blameless.

When are the inhabitants of this country going to accept responsibility for their own actions?

Let us consider some of the statements: "This road is dangerous". Inanimate objects are not dangerous: it is people who are dangerous.

The constabulary alleged to have said: "This road is unique". No, it isn't. The road via Christchurch and Stonea runs alongside the Sixteen Foot Drain". Similar situations exist between Whittlesey and Thorney, also around Ely and Littleport. All of these locations have claimed lives at some time or other.

The entire Fens are criss-crossed with roads that run alongside drains and culverts. Perhaps our traffic department should get out more.

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Some of the proposed solutions are more bizarre and would solve nothing, such as reducing the existing 50mph limit to a lower level. If an individual is prepared to exceed the current restriction, are we naive enough to believe that they would not exceed a lower one?

Close the road - given the number of similar situations, you may as well hand a "'Closed" notice over all of Cambridgeshire. Presumably, your correspondent has suggested where all the traffic that uses the road is to go? Or should we apologise to the residents of Benwick, Ramsey, Warboys and other places for the gridlock that we are about to foist on them?

Barriers - which particular bit is going to be protected? The cost would be prohibitive. The quoted cost argument does not hold up. Frequently, in a two-direction situation, the vehicle that strikes the barrier is cannoned into the path of oncoming traffic.

I am not convinced that appropriate anchorage for a barrier system exists on this road.

I am genuinely sympathetic to those that have lost their kinfolk. Death is cruel, life is cruel - but that's reality. It's about time we learned to deal with it without all the heart-wrenching and hand-wringing.

M HAINES, St Audrey Lane, St Ives

Driving at fault

I HAVE read with interest the numerous articles and opinions from members of the public in connection with the B1049 riverbank road from Forty Foot to Chatteris. Almost everyone blames the road and its location.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the road. It has been there for years. The problem is with the driving, and one can never compensate for the stupid actions of some drivers except to ban them from driving on public roads.

Barriers appear to be the main call for improvement but I can foresee problems with these. Where does one go when a vehicle on the wrong side of the road is bearing down on you at speed? The answer is nowhere with barriers each side of the road. At least currently one can take a chance with the ditch on one side or the river on the other. Both have greater possibilities for survival than the alternative of being smashed against a barrier.

The most ridiculous suggestion of all is the call from people who want the road closed. People have driven along this road for many many years with little problem. It is only in recent years we have had so many tragic deaths. This is an indication of increased traffic, but mainly a massive deterioration in driving standards.

Let us try to keep matters in perspective. No one wants people killed on our roads. Sadly, numerous tragedies occur on many other roads in this area, but we don't talk about closing them.

G HAWKINS, Owls End, Bury

Tacky campaign

THE Press is often accused of having power without responsibility. In the case of your campaign to close Forty Foot Bank, install safety fencing or whatever, it is a much better example of impotence without responsibility.

No responsible highway authority could cave in to such an irrational campaign that is driven by tacky sentimentality.

The numbers simply don't add up, and county councillors would risk personal surcharge by the District Auditor if they wasted money at Forty Foot Bank, rather than addressing real road safety problems elsewhere in the county.

All the experts are telling you that you are wrong. Are you deaf?

JOCELYN WYNTHROP, Stukeley Meadows, Huntingdon

Feeling intimidated

I HAVE listened to debate and police comments on this subject and, as a user of this road, my actual experiences are of motorists doing excessive speeds without considering a margin for error, motorists distracted by bankside wildlife and bright sunshine, drivers ignoring basic safety rules to slow down in fog and mist conditions, and heavy lorries forcing oncoming traffic to move over.

Lorries travelling at more than 40mph bounce and weave, causing motorists to panic. I might add that I use a large van on that road and have been intimidated by these heavy goods vehicles to a point where I have had to pull up and wait till they pass to resume my journey.

JOHN TANSEY, Hazel Way, St Ives

Call for cameras

I HAVE lived in Forty Foot village for 10 years and we use the Forty Foot Bank road quite often.

I must say that the road was in a bad state but the council did a good job in levelling it out and putting the 50mph signs in the road. If drivers stuck to the speed limit and didn't use it like a race track, we wouldn't have the accidents we have had recently.

One thing that does bother me is that the fishermen park their cars on one side of the road and seem to cling to the bank of the river on the other side - is this really safe?

I do not think that closing the road is the answer or reducing the speed limit (if they don't acknowledge the 50mph signs, I cannot see the 30mph making any difference).

Perhaps the speed cameras which record the average speed along the length of the road might work.

MRS EILEEN CARLINE, Dukes Drive, Ramsey Forty Foot

Act quickly

AS a previous resident of Huntingdon, I know the Forty Foot Road area concerned very well.

While I agree with the all proposed safety measures, with the exception of closing the road, I would also like to see the installation of motorway-style crash barriers.

Obviously, whatever measures are taken need to be implemented as soon as possible to avoid further lives being lost.

S TAYLOR, Stevenage

Single-minded

YOU have not given any option for other suggestions to those in your poll on Forty Foot Bank, such as: install Armco barriers - costly, but not as expensive as the lives that have been and will be lost - or making the road one way.

It could then be a single wide carriageway, and all driving could be away from the setting sun and glare.

Most importantly, the safety of this road is no different from that of any factory, ie the owner (CCC) should ensure that the road is safe.

So, invite the HSE to carry out a risk assessment, and issue an enforcement notice for the necessary alterations. Simple really!

TERRY BURDETT, Bedford Crescent, St Ives

Barrier needed

WHY hasn't a crash barrier been installed to stop vehicles skidding off this road into the water?

And why is it not in your list of options?

MICHAEL COLLINS, Pages Way, Brampton

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