WORK has finally started on installing vital speed cameras along one of Hampshire's most dangerous roads.

The first camera on the A36 was put in by county council highway engineers this week, marking a milestone in the Daily Echo campaign to cut the death toll on the dangerous stretch.

One more will be placed at the junction with Whinwhistle Road, an accident blackspot with ten times the crash rate of average roads.

Next week, engineers will start installing a pedestrian and cyclist crossing south of the roundabout with Canada Road.

The step is a victory for thousands of Daily Echo readers who signed our petition and backed the calls to end the carnage.

The campaign was triggered in June this year after a horrific eight-vehicle smash left two elderly people dead.

Mortimer O'Sullivan and Winifred Lock, both 84, were on board the Countess Mountbatten House hospice minibus with other cancer sufferers when they were killed in the collision.

The Daily Echo immediately launched a crusade for action.

We called for transport bosses to cut through red tape and start adding vital safety measures to the road, which has claimed 15 lives in the last 20 years.

In July, we told how highways chiefs had bowed under overwhelming pressure and agreed to install speed cameras, double white lines, filter lanes, crossings, new speed limits and an intelligence warning system.

Now that work is finally underway.

Romsey MP Sandra Gidley, who put her political weight behind the Daily Echo drive, said: "I am very pleased that this, the first item of works discussed when I met with the county council and Highways Agency, is proceeding.

"I am in regular touch with both bodies to ensure that the other items of firmly committed work and investigations are not allowed to slip."

A36 residents' association chairman Alan Clark added: "It's a good start. This will have a dramatic effect on the traffic problems at the Whinwhistle Road junction, where there was an accident a week. I am very pleased."

However, he warned that still more needed to be done.

"Drivers coming off the motorway will be dramatically slowed down by the speed cameras, mainly acting as a deterrent, but there's nothing for drivers coming from the north. This is going to be a waste of money unless something is put in at the other end of the stretch."

Highways bosses say the cameras will be flashing drivers exceeding 40mph from November.