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Call for action on A31
A CAMPAIGN calling for one of the New Forest's busiest roads to be made safer following a spate of crashes is gathering momentum.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for safety measures to be implemented on the A31, and the motion has secured the backing from NewForest MP Desmond Swayne.
And at New Forest District Council’s full council meeting on Monday, the motion was backed unanimously.
One of the leading campaigners, councillor Michael Thierry, said: “It was a good night for Ringwood.”
He said Ringwood Town Council would be bypassing the Highways Agency and instead hoped the petition would be presented to the transport minister.
He said: “We are not taking our petition to the Highways Agency, instead and with the support from Desmond Swayne, we are going to ask the transport minister to receive it.
“This way we are starting at the top.”
Ringwood Town Council wants highway chiefs to tackle the “appalling” accident rate on the A31 by imposing a 50mph speed limit and installing more signs to prevent sudden lane changes.
The current 70mph limit also applies to an exit slip road with a pedestrian crossing halfway along a downhill section.
Critics say many of the problems on the A31 occur on the Picket Post to Ashley Heath stretch, notorious for its many junctions and no crawler lane for HGVs struggling up Poulner Hill.
Earlier this year an elderly motorist was killed in a four-car pile-up on the Ringwood flyover.
Two months later seven people were injured when three cars collided near the junction with the Ringwood to Fordingbridge road.
And last week 53-year-old Ross Lipsett from Ringwood was killed there in the early hours of the morning, on his way to work.
The district council's cabinet member for planning and transport Paul Vickers has announced he wants the county council, Mr Swayne and Ringwood Town Council to support a plan to widen the road.
But Mr Thierry said this would have the potential for “greater procrastination”. He said: “How long would it take to widen the road, is it practicable and where would you widen it?
“All we want are simple measures to be put in place to make the road safer and reduce the accident rate. Better signage would hopefully result in drivers getting into the correct lane earlier.”