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Former Lostwithiel mayor renews calls for a review of accident blackspot on A390

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: May 26, 2013

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A FORMER mayor of Lostwithiel has vowed to continue the fight to improve safety on the A390 after another accident saw a driver lucky to walk away from the wreckage.

Dave Robson first called for a review of the Downend Road section in the wake of a fatal accident that tragically claimed the life of 20-year-old, Emma Paige Lancaster, in October.

This latest incident, last Tuesday evening (May 14), occurred just ten yards from that same spot.

A woman in her early twenties, driving a Peugeot 306, came off the road, with her car coming to rest near Downend Garage.

Despite substantial damage to the vehicle and having to be cut from the car by fire crews she miraculously walked away with just minor injuries.

Although Mr Robson claims he has put continued pressure on Cornwall Council to review the safety of this stretch of road he also claims Cornwall Council has not recognised the problem.

"We've pressured as much as we can and have been told the road is safe enough, although the real facts seem to prove otherwise," he said.

The stretch of road in question saw no accidents for five years from 2005 but then, from 2011, there were seven incidents, some serious and one fatal on the same bend.

Mr Robson added: "We will continue to press and press and press until something is eventually done.

"We would like the 40mph speed limit extended to cover the nasty bend but the council has said it isn't needed."

Watch manager at Lostwithiel community fire station, Jonathon Abbiss, said the girl involved in the latest crash was "very lucky" but added that following the fatality last year the road had been looked at again.

Mr Abbiss said: "After the accident last year there were various assessments carried out, such as surveys to see if the section of road was abrasive enough all of which were passed."

Contrary to the views of Mr Robson, Adrian Roberts, safety engineer with Cormac – Cornwall Council's highways team, believes reducing the speed limit could result in a detrimental effect on the road.

He said: "It's a situation we're aware of. If this was a persistent problem year in year out we may look at the speed issue.

"But people do not always obey speed limits on country roads and there are problems that those who do may see other cars attempting to overtake which would be a big problem.

"Also, if the speed limit is cut further along the road then it could reduce the impact of the lowered speed limit on the way into Lostwithiel.

"It's not the speed limit that's the problem it's something in the bend itself and we can work on solving that."

Mr Roberts believes it possible that something could have changed in the area and that it might be altering a driver's perception of the road and bend. And he also noted that all but one of the recent spate of accidents occurred in dark and wet conditions.

Measures have already been taken to reduce the risk of further accidents.

"Following the run of accidents two hazard markers were placed and, as four of the accidents in the spot had seen the cars hit trees, we took the trees away.

"We have now carried out a survey to check super elevation recommendations (tilting the roadway to help offset centripetal forces developed as the vehicle goes around a curve).

"Along with friction they are what keeps a vehicle from going off the road and if this comes back with anything, that would give us the impetus and an open door from our client to get the work in place."

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  • josdave  |  May 27 2013, 8:51AM

    There is a speed limit and if drivers stick to that this stretch of road is perfectly safe. All accidents are the result of driver error or mechanical failure.