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Major smash closes A31 and M27
9:09am Monday 25th February 2013 in News
A SERIOUS crash between a motorbike and a car last night is causing traffic chaos across the Forest this morning.
The crash, near the Fish Inn at Ringwood - the site campaigners say should have a 50mph limit - will close part of the A31 and the M27 until at least 11am.
The crash happened about 8pm yesterday, and police investigators have been at the scene overnight.
They have not revealed what has happened as yet, but a driver who came upon the scene just after the accident said it appeared at least nine vehicles had been affected, with vans and cars at all angles all over the road and debris strewn across the carriageway.
Inspector Robert Shaw, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: “The A31 westbound is closed at junction two.
"This means there is going to be significant congestion for any vehicles travelling westbound and there are some diversions which are in place but you can appreciate that the volume of traffic that uses the road is going to suffer some significant delays.
“It is anticipated that the road will be closed until at least 11am this morning.”
Ringwood Town Council has been pressing the Highways Agency to reduce the speed limit of the A31 between Picket Post and the Ashley Heath roundabout to 50mph.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for a lower limit and other safety measures to be introduced on the A31.
However, the Highways Agency has declared that the busy commuter route is not sufficiently dangerous to warrant a reduction.
In a letter to the council the Agency said the personal injury collision (PIC) rate would have to be 86 per 100 million vehicle kilometres before the limit could be changed.
However, a review carried out in 2010 showed a rate of no more than 11.7 per cent.
The Agency claimed that many of the collisions were rear-end shunts and other comparatively minor accidents that occurred in slow moving or near stationary traffic.
It added: “Based on this evidence there is nothing to support a reduction in the speed limit.”
But councillors are refusing to take “no” for an answer and have vowed to carry on lobbying for a speed reduction.
Councillor Michael Thierry said: “The current 70mph limit is unaceptable.
There was a three-car crash only a few days ago which, according to the police, was all down to speed.
“The Highways Agency aren’t living here and having to deal with the problem of the A31 on a daily basis.
“They often have an ostrich-like approach to issues of this nature.
They’re very rigid and inflexible and yet their decisions affect the lives of so many people.
“The A31 has a long history of incidents – everything from minor crashes to fatalities.
“Our petition was signed by more than 1,000 people, only one of whom said they were against a reduction in the speed limit.”
Cllr Thierry said it might be necessary for the council to lobby the Department for Transport in the wake of the Agency’s response.