Council leader to visit North Devon accident black spot

THE new leader of Devon County Council has agreed to visit a notorious North Devon accident black spot next week. Cllr John Hart will accompany Fremington Rural Cllr Rodney Cann on an official council site visit to the Westleigh Junction on Tuesday, July

THE new leader of Devon County Council has agreed to visit a notorious North Devon accident black spot next week.

Cllr John Hart will accompany Fremington Rural Cllr Rodney Cann on an official council site visit to the Westleigh Junction on Tuesday, July 7.

The junction, off the A39 near the new bridge at Bideford has been the scene of a number of collisions in recent years.

According to official statistics, between January 2006 and December 2008 there were a total of 15 collisions at the junction, including one serious injury.


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Cllr Cann, who raised the issue with the council's Executive committee, said: "The Westleigh Junction has long been a source of concern to residents and my local parish councils.

"Allegations of it being unsafe are constantly being made and the junction is certainly very confusing to negotiate.

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"In the light of public concern and the accident record of the junction, major improvements are necessary."

"From the advice I have received, the only real solution is a roundabout. I have asked the council ensure that this solution is given serious consideration for implementation at the earliest opportunity."

But although Cllr Hart will visit the site, he said it was too early to know if schemes already put in place had helped to improve the junction's safety.

He said that in 2007, the council had examined various options to address safety concerns at the junction, ranging from electronic variable message signs (VMS) to a �1million roundabout option.

"The most cost effective option assessed at the time was to introduce vehicle activated VMS on the main road approaches to the junction," he said.

"This scheme was implemented in 2008 and the early indications are that it has had some effect as there are no recorded collisions yet in 2009.

"Clearly it is too early in the scheme life to be certain about the long-term efficacy. Officers will continue to monitor the junction to ensure that the most appropriate intervention is properly specified.

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