Bay Gateway roundabout crashes force safety investigation

Photo Neil Cross
The roundabout on Bay Gateway (Carnforth junction), where four incidents have happened over the last week
Photo Neil Cross The roundabout on Bay Gateway (Carnforth junction), where four incidents have happened over the last week
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Speed restrictions and safety measures will be put in place on the Bay Gateway after 
several vehicles crashed headlong into a roundabout.

Since the new road opened just over three weeks ago, there have been numerous incidents at the Beaumont roundabout, which leads on to the A6.

Road builder Costain said it would introduce temporary speed restrictions, lane closures and diversions on the road while it investigated how to solve the problem, which Lancashire Police says has resulted in at least six incidents.

One driver, who said his commute to Preston had been slashed in half since the road opened, said something needed to be done “before someone gets hurt.”

Last Wednesday, November 16, a 44 ton wagon ended up in the centre of the roundabout, although police said the vehicle had “broken down”.

Lancashire Police said it had counted six incidents there since the road opened on October 31, and had put more signs and cones out to warn motorists of the danger.

Other people have reported seeing vehicles approaching the roundabout far too fast. Alan Butler, who commutes to Preston from Heysham, said the new road had been “great” in reducing his time spent on the road, but said the roundabout “seems to loom out of nowhere”.

He said: “I’m not surprised there’s been accidents there.

“There are no lights anywhere and the roundabout just seems to loom out of nowhere.

“It needs lighting and maybe some of those lines in the road that you get going into speed camera zones to get you to slow down.

“I think the basic problem is it’s so dark up there, but something needs doing before someone gets hurt.”

Richard Helme, Costain project manager said: “The scheme has been designed and constructed to meet current highways standards, however as a result of the recent incidents Lancashire County Council have requested that these lane closures are implemented as a temporary measure.

“We would still encourage people to drive with caution if they are not already familiar with the new road. The lane closures will remain in place whilst mitigation measures to address the issue are investigated.”

Lancashire County Council is currently introducing the lane closures on the approaches leading up to and on the roundabout, and a temporary speed restriction will also be placed on the westbound carriageway.

Diversion signs from the M6 are currently in place, while the link to the A6 will remain open throughout.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We’re aware of five incidents of vehicles leaving the road at the A6 junction roundabout. The common cause of these incidents appears to be drivers exceeding the speed limit, and finding that they can’t slow down in time to safely negotiate the roundabout.

“We have installed illuminated traffic management to narrow the approaches to one lane, with signage indicating a 50mph speed limit, which is designed to alert drivers to the approaching junction, and encourage them to observe the speed limit. We’re also investigating measures to address this issue in the longer term.

“We would encourage people to consider their own and other people’s safety, and to drive with particular caution if they are not already familiar with the new road.”

Work was due to be carried out on Monday, November 21, but due to bad weather it is now scheduled for Wednesday, November 23.