One accident ‘every five days’ at A47 blackspot in Peterborough area

The fatal A47 collision
The fatal A47 collision
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The A47 from Thorney through Guyhirn has seen 23 road collisions in just four months at an average of nearly one every five days.

The figures have been revealed following a Peterborough Telegraph investigation.

The stretch of road is well known as an accident blackspot - with two people dying after a collision between a lorry and a bus at Thorney Toll in June - and figures show police were called to 23 road traffic collisions there over four months from the start of May to the end of August - at an average of one every 5.3 days.

This is compared to 16 collisions over the same period in 2017, and 12 in 2016.

The force was also called out to the area for non-road collisions on many more occasions.

Cllr Gavin Booth, who represents the area on Fenland District Council alongside fellow Liberal Democrat Cllr Sarah Bligh, said: “The accident rate has dramatically increased on the A47 over recent years, tragically with people losing their lives on what is a very straight stretch of road. This has certainly been noticed by many residents locally.”

The road is a single carriageway after the Thorney Bypass up until Guyhirn. According to Cambridgeshire County Council there were 24 injury collisions on the A47 between the junction with Station Road, Thorney, and Elm High Road, Wisbech, in 2017, down from 25 in 2016.

Cllr Booth, who said he was also speaking on behalf of Cllr Bligh, added: “We have been actively seeking improvements to the A47 through Fenland for several years. Studies show dual carriageways are safer for drivers.”

Peterborough’s metro mayor James Palmer has met Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan to discuss dualling the entirety of the A47. He said: “As well as improving journey times, boosting the economy and unlocking housing growth, a big benefit of dualling the A47 will be to improve its safety.

“One of the reasons for the road’s poor record for accidents is its long stretches of single carriageway. In Cambridgeshire the single carriageway stretches from the A16 junction near Peterborough right through to Walton Highway east of Wisbech.”

Barry Britain, chairman of Wisbech St Mary Parish Council, said: “We feel very strongly about this. Traffic is diverted through the villages of Guyhirn and Wisbech St Mary.

“It’s causing mayhem for local people with overcrowding of the local roads which have become how the A47 used to be.

“The road is not capable of the volume of traffic now. A lot of mornings there are queues of over a mile. It really is a bit of a nightmare. We think dualling would be a big help.”

Highways England is due to carry out improvements at the A141 junction with the A47 in Guyhirn. Replying to the PT’s request for a comment, a spokesperson referred to the entirety of the road. He said: “The number of collisions on the A47 is falling and we have a stretching target to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our network by 40 per cent by the end of the decade.

“Safety will continue to be Highways England’s top priority as it takes forward six major upgrades of the A47.”