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A38 changes make a huge difference

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 12, 2014

By Rob Smyth

  • AFTERMATH . . . the crash that prompted major changes along the A38.

  • HARD WORK . . . Andrew Griffiths.

  • CHANGE WAS WORTH IT . . . Steve Maskrey.

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ONE year ago major changes to the A38 were given the green light as part of a bid to drastically improve the accident-plagued dual carriageway.

Twelve months on and, with the measures now in place, safety is still paramount for all the people, politicians and agencies that joined forces to bring about change.

The raft of measures between Barton under Needwood and Branston included a 60mph speed limit and the closure of controversial gaps in the central reservation.

The safety plans were nearly abandoned earlier this year after just three people objected to the changes as it would have meant they would have to spend more money on fuel and have longer journeys to reach their homes.

These objections were thrown out by highways chiefs and the green light was given, much to the delight of campaigners which included police chiefs and the fire service.

Andrew Griffiths, Burton's MP and the man who spearheaded the move for change, said: "It is as simple as this – the roads are safer as a result of the move to close off these death traps.

"The onus is still on the likes of Staffordshire Police to make sure these measures are being followed.

"Drivers also need to continue to step up to the plate and make sure they follow the new measures as well."

The work was put in place following the tragic deaths of two sisters in 2012.

Parveen Kauser and Raheela Altaf were killed in a head-on collision on Friday, April 27.

Six other people were injured in the accident on the northbound carriageway of the A38, just before the Branston junction near Marley Tiles.

It later emerged that the sisters were trying to turn, using one of several hazardous gaps in the central reservation of the carriageway.

Only days after the tragedy, Burton's MP Andrew Griffiths joined forces with the Mail to launch a campaign urging the Government to review A38 safety and to push for major improvements to be made.

The bid was backed by the East Staffordshire Local Strategic Partnership, which includes East Staffordshire Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Burton and South Derbyshire College and bosses at Burton's Queen's Hospital.

Steve Maskrey, chief inspector of the East Staffordshire Policing Team, said: "I remember speaking to the officers involved with the crash that saw two sisters lose their life on this road and saw a renewed effort to make changes to improve safety on the road.

"It had a massive impact on the officers and for them, and for the family of those who died, I wanted to push through the changes that are in place.

"During investigations afterwards, it became clear that the closure of central reservation gaps and a speed limit reduction would make a massive impact.

"It was very simple – the road needed these improvements and then it would be safer to everyone who uses the A38."

This comes as Staffordshire County Council revealed that roads in Burton are the safest since records began 30 years ago – according to the latest figures from the Department for Transport.

The latest figures now put Staffordshire's roads among the top three safest in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership, Mark Winnington, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure with Staffordshire County Council, said: "Keeping our roads safe is a key priority and while we are pleased with the huge reductions in the past 30 years, we aren't complacent and every accident where someone is killed or injured is one too many.

"We will continue to work hard to continue to help keep the roads as safe as possible for drivers in the area."

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