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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

New technology aims to cut spine road crashes

New technology is being introduced on one of the county’s busiest roads in a bid to cut accidents.

The A189 southbound approach to the A19/A189 Moor Farm Roundabout, near Cramlington, has an unwanted record of rear end shunt type collisions – and the roundabout itself is the number one collision hotspot in Northumberland.

Research has pinpointed factors including high approach speeds and variable queue lengths combining to increase the potential for rear end shunts when a driver misjudges the speed of, and distance to, both slow moving and stationary vehicles ahead.

Despite significant signage, road markings, improved road surfacing and a reduced speed limit, crashes have continued, causing concern for local residents.

Now the council has teamed up with Clearview Intelligence Ltd, a company who utilise technology to address road safety and traffic congestion problems, to develop a scheme which will provide drivers with real time information of the traffic situation ahead.

It will involve the installation of LED signs which activate when the traffic situation ahead requires additional warning and reduced approach speeds.

Using vehicle detection equipment linked to advance LED signage, the system will encourage southbound drivers to approach slowing and queuing traffic at appropriate speeds.

The signs will activate to display a “Queues Ahead” warning sign and an appropriate advisory speed limit when road sensors detect traffic ahead slowing or queuing.

Once the scheme is installed it will be monitored over the forthcoming months as traffic volumes eventually return closer to pre Covid-19 levels. Councillor John Riddle,Cabinet Member for Local Services, said: “With over 3,000 miles of roads in our county, improving safety is always a priority, especially where evidence shows there’s increased risk of accidents. “This high-tech solution should hopefully lead to a reduction in incidents, although we’d still stress drivers need to pay attention at all times and be prepared to react to changes ahead of them.”

County Councillor for Cramlington Village, Councillor Mark Swinburn, said: “While this stretch of road is used by thousands of vehicles every day it was seeing far too many accidents and it was a concern for both me and local residents.

“Despite improvements to signs, speed limits and road surfaces it was clear more needed to be done and I’m pleased this new technology is being installed which should give drivers even more warning of conditions ahead.”

Andy Salotti, Client Relationship Director at Clearview Intelligence added: “We pride ourselves on working with our clients to develop technology solutions to road safety problems.

“It's been a pleasure working with Northumberland County Council to provide a specific solution, using proven technology, to their issue on the A189 at Cramlington.”

The final installation and testing will take place overnight on Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19, when the road will be closed at this location both nights between 8pm and 6am. There will be a total closure southbound and one lane closed northbound. During this closure teams will also be working to clean the road and paint new markings. Diversions will be in place.

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