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Roads chiefs put brakes on A590 roundabout plan

By Gareth JonesPLANS to improve safety on the A590 have suffered a major blow.

In a letter to South Lakes MP Tim Farron, the Highways Agency has confirmed there is no funding available for a roundabout at Greenodd.

This is the latest setback for A590 safety campaigners after minister Mike Penning cancelled his visit to Cumbria to hold talks about road safety on the A590, which were scheduled later this month. He will instead meet Mr Farron and Furness MP John Woodcock in Westminster for 30 minutes, rather than the proposed half a day with residents and parish councils.

In the letter, the Highways Agency divisional director David Grunwell said the organisation was “not able to secure funding for the roundabout scheme, as originally designed, as other schemes on a national basis were a higher priority.”

The letter went on to say: “The value management process, when applied to the proposed roundabout at Greenodd, indicates the scheme would deliver reasonable benefits, but those benefits are significantly below the level required to secure funding.”

Value management is the tool used by the Highways Agency to score building and road schemes. The roundabout was agreed by the Highways Agency in 2010. Work was to start this year.

The Highways Agency then assessed whether a smaller roundabout would be feasible but rejected that idea too as it said “construction would be complex and have a significant impact on users of the route in terms of increased delay and reduced visibility.”

Official county council statistics show there have been 284 accidents on the A590 in South Lakeland over the past five years – eight of them fatal and 33 of them serious.

Mr Farron said: “Residents have been fighting for nearly 10 years to improve the A590 and I am angry the government and the Highways Agency are trying to go back on previous promises made. I find this incredibly disrespectful to the hundreds of people and their families who have been killed and injured in crashes on the A590 that the Highways Agency are not honouring their promises and a government minister won’t come up here and meet us.”

Janet Willis, county councillor for Low Furness, said: “I’m absolutely devastated at the news but promise local residents I will keep fighting to improve safety.”

Have your say

How many people need to die before the Highways Agency's 'value management process'shows that this is worthwhile? If a factory owner refused to install safety equipment on the grounds that only 8 people had died and 33 been seriously injured,the HSE would have locked him up and thrown away the key. Are our Local Councillors and MPs really putting in enough effort here?

Posted by Clive on 13 June 2012 at 12:06

It is now wholly beyond belief the contempt with which London-centric Parliament views this part of the country. Are they seriously telling us that we cannot have a previously approved roundabout at a notorious accident black spot?

Compare that to the cost of the London Olympics and recent 4-day lavish festivities for the monarchy. The London Olympics even has the money to build a new state of the art velodrome for cycling and then knock it down again afterwards. This country was once known for fairness, maybe it still is providing you went to Eton.

Posted by OLD JOHN on 13 June 2012 at 11:27

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