Safety barrier on North Bank Road expected to be in place by end of next week

North Bank Whittlesey. New marker posts North Bank Whittlesey. New marker posts

Friday, December 13, 2013
12:05 PM

The people of Whittlesey got the result they have tirelessly campaigned for last night when it was confirmed work to install a safety barrier on the notorious North Bank Road will start on Monday.

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Protest over the North Bank river road, Whittlesey. Phil Yates. Picture: Steve Williams.Protest over the North Bank river road, Whittlesey. Phil Yates. Picture: Steve Williams.

The announcement was made at a meeting of the Fenland Road Safety Campaign, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to discuss safety issues on the road, which has seen two deaths and numerous close escapes in the past six weeks.

The North Bank Road will be closed from 9.30am on Monday and it is hoped the 250-metre £50,000 barrier, which will be paid for by Peterborough City Council, will be installed by the end of next week.

At the meeting, Peterborough City Council said they are also considering installing red reflective red studs in the road and making the temporary 40 mph speed limit permanent.

But they said they can’t afford to install an average speed camera system, which would cost £400,000.

The Campaign Team (Top Row) Lesley Elding, Matt Sharpe, Colin Martin, Donald Cliffe, (Bottom Row) Graham Chappell, Hannah Mepham, Lucy Day and Jayne Cliffe.The Campaign Team (Top Row) Lesley Elding, Matt Sharpe, Colin Martin, Donald Cliffe, (Bottom Row) Graham Chappell, Hannah Mepham, Lucy Day and Jayne Cliffe.

However, were external funding to be found, they would install cameras.

Simon Machen, director of growth and regeneration at Peterborough City Council, who chaired the meeting, said: “We want to install the barrier as soon as possible. Following our initial discussions with contractors it was agreed that work would begin on Monday.

“We’re hoping to have a good run of weather to allow us to get the installation completed as quickly as possible and we anticipate the barrier will be in place on the bend by the end of next week.

“We will investigate installing red reflective road studs and other appropriate measures around the bend.

“The feasibility of additional safety measures on the North Bank Road was discussed and this will be investigated by both the city council and the Fenland Road Safety Campaign, who we will continue to work closely with.”

Hannah Yates, 18, drowned when her car plunged into the River Nene, which runs alongside it, on November 3.

Last Monday, the body of Keith Pettitt, 50, of Corby, was pulled from the river after his Skoda was spotted partially submerged.

Three other vehicles also went into the River Nene at the same spot two weeks ago in separate incidents and all eight occupants escaped.

Hannah Yates’ father, Phil, had planned to be at the meeting but decided he needed to be with his family at this time.

He did, however, thank everyone involved in the campaign on the North Bank Facebook page.

His post said: “I wanted to say so much more to be honest, but I’m very happy and so proud.

“I would like to thank everyone who got involved in this, far too many to mention.

“I know that Hannah would’ve been so proud, and for that I thank you all x x x x”

Graham Chappell, Fenland Road Safety Campaign founder, expressed his delight at the outcome but insisted the campaign’s work is not done.

They will continue to push for an average speed camera system on the stretch of road.

He said: “We are profoundly sorry that we were not able to achieve this sooner, but we are relieved and grateful for the speed and decisiveness with which Mr Machen, in particular, has acted for the benefit of future road users and for the good of our community.

“Looking to the immediate future, we will be taking stock of these dramatic and very welcome developments.

“Our various fund-raising events will be proceeding as planned, as our work for the North Bank is not yet done, but a significant achievement has been secured.

“This has been thanks to the overwhelming strength of support given by all those who care about what has happened here and are keen to see that preventable river immersion accidents, and deaths, no longer occur on the North Bank’s notorious ‘blind bend’.”

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