Lethal Langport road 'no safer' after £50,000 outlay
A grandmother has slammed a £50,000 scheme to improve safety on a road near Langport where a four-year-old boy died as a “waste of money”.
Somerset County Council completed work in January to widen Station Path in Huish Episcopi and install a pedestrian barrier where it meets Field Road
The improvements followed the death of Alfie Jones, who was hit by a bus after he ran into the road in May 2011.
But Carole Church, of Brookland Road, said the area is no safer since the work was done.
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She said: “I am extremely concerned, it’s a particularly busy road, there’s lorries going by there all the time and it’s often used as a diversion if there’s a problem on the A303.
“If you’re coming up from Huish Episcopi Academy the visibility for the path has been improved quite a lot.
“But it’s still no better for cars on the other side of the road – by the time cars come over the railway bridge and have seen any children in the road they won’t be able to stop in time. I think the widening of the path has actually made it more dangerous.
“The extra room just means that children and cyclists can pick up more speed as they’re coming down to Field Road.
“And the new wooden barriers just direct children around the barrier on the road – it’s not long enough it needs extra barriers either side to stop children coming out into the road. All it takes is one lapse of concentration and for them to go in the road and that’s it. I’m very worried that there will be another accident there. In my opinion what they have done has been a waste of money, it’s no safer than it was before.”
The county council moved part of the path onto a different piece of land so that it now emerges on to a different part of the Field Road, with the aim of making it easier for motorists and pedestrians to see each other.
Adam Dance, who is standing as county councillor for Langport in May, said: “The railings on the road need to be twice as long. If they are not long enough school kids will just be able to run across.
Alfie’s father, Nigel Jones, also raised concerns that children could easily run past the barriers that have been put in.
A Somerset County Council spokesman said: “We have so far received positive feedback in relation to the improvement to the path linking Field Road in Langport.
“We do, however, monitor the schemes once completed, and it will be subject to an independent safety audit to assess how it is working.
“We are grateful for all feedback received so far which will be borne in mind as part of this process.”