11:40 Friday 21 February 2014

Top minister backs calls for A38 safety changes

Written byROB SMYTH

A TOP Government minister has backed plans for major improvements along the A38 – claiming they would make a ‘significant contribution’ to road safety.

Secretary for Transport Patrick McLoughlin spoke out on proposals to ensure ‘dangerous’ gaps between Branston and Barton under Needwood remain closed and a new 60mph speed limit enforced after being asked to intervene by Burton MP Andrew Griffiths.

The MP made the drastic move after Highways Agency chiefs slammed the brakes on the £140,000 project just weeks before it was set to start in January when three people objected to the proposals.

Mr McLoughlin said: “I agree that measures proposed between the Branston and Barton junctions would make a significant contribution to the improvement of road safety at this location.

“It fits with the Highways Agency’s policy of closing potentially hazardous crossing points on the Staffordshire length of the A38 where it is possible to do so.

“Ideally it requires the whole package of measures to be delivered for the maximum benefits to result.”

A decision is on whether the plans will go-ahead is expected to be made on Wednesday.

The work was delayed after the three objectors claimed that they were rallying against the proposals because of the amount of time it will add on to their journeys and the cost implications it would have in terms of fuel.

Now, the objectors have spoken out for the first time in a letter to the Mail.

It stated: “It may cost each person living on the A38 some £40 each month with fuel, taxis and time but the main concern is safety.

“If someone had a heart attack or needed medical assistance, it would take eight minutes longer because of the changes.

“If it is required we can go door knocking and get petitions backing us up.”

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