‘It’s shocking the amount of accidents’ – FOI reveals one crash every other day on A1(M) between Welwyn and Baldock Services
- Credit: Archant
Motorists face the prospect of at least one crash every other day on the North Herts stretch of the A1(M), despite attempts to make the road safer.
Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Comet show there were 192 collisions on the stretch of road between Junction 6 for Welwyn and Junction 10 for Baldock Services in 2015, and the same number in 2014.
But the number of accidents has declined – in 2013 there were 217 crashes and the figures were even higher in 2012 (231) and 2011 (241).
Regular users of the stretch – which also has junctions for Stevenage and Letchworth – expressed their concern that the accident rate is still so high.
Paul Fry took to Facebook stating: “That is way too many accidents. Driver education needed.”
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Ricky Howard posted: “Needs to be three lanes. And as regards safety, how safer can you get than a straight line road?”
But others took a different tack. Natasha Cope said: “People need to learn how to drive properly and safely, it’s shocking the amount of accidents on there.”
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The last serious collision on the stretch of motorway came on Thursday, January 14, when three vehicles collided on the outside lane of the southbound carriageway, just past Junction 7.
But only two days earlier the northbound carriageway was blocked between Junction 6 for Welwyn and 7 for Stevenage after a two-vehicle crash involving a silver Toyota Yaris and a Volvo, and the previous a week a Volvo S60 and a Renault Megane collided on the same stretch.
Last spring Highways England completed a £4.5 million project on the northbound carriageway and slip roads at Junction 6, in an effort to make the junction safer and cut congestion.
This included using the inside lane as a slip road instead of motorists filtering from three lanes to two further up – but the move has angered many motorists, who have complained of delays and increased dangers.
A spokeswoman for the agency said it would normally review the improvements after 12 months to see if they have had a positive effect, but in this case it is already investigating to see if anything needs to be done after motorists raised concerns.
She also outlined plans for the section between Junction 6 and 8 – also for Stevenage – to be expanded to three lanes with the use of the hard shoulder.
She added: “Safety is a top priority for Highways England and we keep our network continually under review to ensure it remains safe.
“Highways England is committed to delivering £2 billion of investment as part of the government’s Roads Investment Strategy to improve the capacity and condition of roads, including the A1(M).
“Over the next five years the plan is to increase capacity on the A1(M) upgrading Junction 6 to 8 to a ‘smart motorway’ including widening the two-lane section to dual three lane and hard shoulder running.”