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Hundreds sign petition for A31 safety measures
HUNDREDS of residents and traders are signing petitions in Ringwood calling for safety measures on one of the area’s busiest roads.
Pressure is mounting on the Highways Agency after members of Ringwood Town Council were |unanimous in supporting a motion urging the agency to review the section of A31 between Picket Post and the Ashley Heath interchange.
The council said it wanted a 50mph speed limit imposed on the road, which recent statistics show has 15,000 traffic movements a day, and it pointed at the combination of slopes, slip-roads, lane changes and tailbacks whch is says make it a dangerous stretch.
Councillor Christine Ford told the Forest Journal on Monday that if reducing the speed limit was “impossible” then they want the Highways Agency to look at all possible |measures for improving safety.
Now the town council has set up a Safety Measures on the A31 Working Party consisting of councillors Ford, Michael Thierry, Angela Wiseman and Neville Chard and the new town mayor Steve Rippon-Swayne.
And hundreds of residents have already signed the petitions at shops across the town.
Cllr Ford said: “We are not going to simply post the petitions to the Highways Agency, we are physically going to hand it over to them and request a meeting so this issue will not get stuck in an in-tray.
“We want action to be taken to improve the safety on this road.
“The traffic is very fast on this section, which along with the petrol station and the pub, also has the Verwood slip-road. There is little time for drivers to make their manoeuvres, especially if they are travelling at 70mph.
“Ideally we want a 50mph speed limit imposed, which would join with the 50mph limit already in place beyond the Ashley Heath roundabout. If this is impossible then the agency might think about adding large signs to the bridges, which would give motorists prior warning of traffic.”
Cllr Ford added: “The support we are receiving from residents in the area is tremendous, but this issue does not just affect Ringwood people, it affects everyone using this stretch of the A31.”
The working party has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, June 20 to discuss the next stage.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “Safety is top priority for the Highways Agency and we are proud that the roads we manage are among the safest in the world.
“We welcome any representation from councillors at Ringwood Town Council about ideas they have for safety improvements on the A31 and promise that we will carefully consider their points and respond to them in detail. However, any safety intervention – be it a speed limit review or other measure – would have to be backed up by clear evidence to show it would deliver a worthwhile safety improvement; we cannot plan road improvements on opinion alone, no matter how strong that opinion might be.”