FENLAND: Campaigner fears cost is holding back vital improvements to Sixteen Foot

PUBLISHED: 19:15 21 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:25 02 June 2010

wendy yates at the 16ft drain

wendy yates at the 16ft drain

A SUPPORTER of a Fenland road safety campaign feels that the cost of possible improvements is holding back safety work on the Sixteen Foot Bank between Chatteris and Upwell. How many more lives will be lost in that water before something is done about it

A SUPPORTER of a Fenland road safety campaign feels that the cost of possible improvements is holding back safety work on the Sixteen Foot Bank between Chatteris and Upwell.

"How many more lives will be lost in that water before something is done about it?" said Wendy Yates, of Christchurch.

She is backing the Charlotte's Way Fenland Road Safety Campaign, launched after the nine-year-old girl who drowned in the Sixteen Foot Drain after the car her mother was driving entered the water.

Mrs Yates, who lost her own son in a car accident, added: "Surely it doesn't matter how much these road safety improvements cost when lives will be saved ?

"Villagers in Christchurch want something done about the Sixteen Foot Bank, similar to what has been done at the Forty Foot drain."

She contacted the county council through Councillor Fred Yeulett asking them to consider her suggestions for road safety improvements along the Sixteen Foot Bank.

These include:-

* Large signs along the drain stating the number of recent fatalities.

* Barriers along the drain opposite Padgetts Road and Upwell Road junctions.

* Educating drivers about tackling an emergency when a car enters the water.

But Peter Vale, highways traffic engineer, said that fatality signs "have little impact on the majority of drivers" and need to be updated "due to changes in accident figures."

He added that crash barriers will not help head on collisions and investigations have found that Fen drains cannot support their foundations.

"Anyone hitting a crash barrier head on would possibly end up stranded across the carriageway in the path of a fast oncoming vehicle, therefore stopping the vehicle entering the drain but causing a possible serious incident," said Mr Vale.

"And the Fire Brigade have put on demonstrations and handed out safety hammers at various fire stations in the Fenland area showing how to escape from a vehicle that is both upside down and in water."

Mrs Yates added: "The response I received was very informative, but to me it seems that there is not enough money in the pot for safety improvements at the Sixteen Foot."

A FAMILY friend of a little girl who drowned in the Sixteen Foot Bank in February, wants accident figures on notorious Fenland roads to be released to the public.

Graham Chappell, who has launched a road safety campaign calling for improvements to Fenland roads, has submitted the request using the Freedom of Information Act.

It is hoped that Cambridgeshire County Council will release the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents along the Sixteen Foot Bank, Forty Foot Bank and North Bank Road next to the River Nene.

Last month, he launched 'The Charlotte's Way Fenland Road Safety Campaign', named after nine-year-old Charlotte Walker who died when a car being driven by her mother ploughed into the river near March.


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