On the Campaign Trail

News from the Department for Transport

A14 Junctions 7 to 9 Kettering bypass improvement

The Highways Agency are holding a public information exhibition at the Cornmarket Hall, London Road, Kettering, NN15 7QA on Friday 30th November, from 2pm to 8pm, and Saturday 1st December, from 10am to 4pm.

Members of the Highways Agency project team, alongside staff from the scheme designers will be present to explain and answer any questions we may have and we are invited to attend.

The aim of the scheme is to:

Reduce congestion;

Improve journey time reliability and safety by improving traffic flow conditions;

Support sustainable development actvity;

Contribute to the region's economy by supporting the role of the A14 as a major transport artery;

Deliver the scheme in a way which minimises its environmental impact.

There will undoubtedly be some impact on local cycling, if only during implementation of the scheme.   The contact for more information, if required, is Mike Hall, Highways Agency, Woodlands, Bedford, MK41 7LW.   Tel:  01234 796609
Email:  A14KetteringBypass@highways.gsi.gov.uk

Inquest on Sarah Burwell 8th March 2012

I attended the inquest, as an observer, on the tragic case of Sarah Burwell, a staff nurse at Kettering General Hospital, who was killed on Rothwell Road, Kettering on 22nd August 2011. Sarah, aged 40, was riding an electrically assisted bicycle and was accompanied by her sister, also on a bicycle.  It was a little before 7.30 p.m. when they left the hospital by the lower entrance just north of the railway bridge and crossed Rothwell Road by means of the toucan crossing opposite Poppyfields.  They then proceeded on the footpath towards the rail bridge and Sarah, riding in front, was entering the bridge path when she lost control of her machine and fell into the road where she was hit by a passing car.

The police officer who investigated following the accident measured the footpath as 0.97 metres wide at the point where the accident occurred, narrowing even more to only 0.85 metres on the Northfield Avenue side.  The handlebars on Sarah’s cycle were 59.5 cms wide allowing only 37.5 cms clearance.   Neither the cycle nor the car involved had any defects.

It was pointed out that the arched bridge on Northampton Road, which has similar narrow footpaths, has railings offering some protection from the road.   Another important feature on the Northampton Road bridge is that there are No Cycling signs on both sides of the road at the bridge.  The Rothwell Road bridge has no railings and the coroner is recommending that this or other action be considered.  Neither does this bridge have any signs.  The installing of railings would of course narrow the footpath even more.  There has at no time been any suggestion that the route through the bridge is other than a footpath, the toucan crossing notwithstanding.

The coroner’s verdict was accidental death.

I also have a copy of the Kettering Evening Telegraph report if anyone wishes to receive it by email.

Max Scott

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