TRAFFIC LIGHTS WILL NOT BE INSTALLED AT SITE OF FATAL FOREST ROAD ACCIDENT – Island Echo

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The local authority has decided that traffic lights will not be installed at a busy road junction in the Isle of Wight, 3 years after a fatal accident involving cars and a bus.

Councilor Phil Jordan, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, told a meeting on Tuesday evening that although traffic lights will not be installed the local authority is possibly looking to acquire land around the junction from Forest Road, with Whitehouse Road and Betty Haunt. Lane, to make it a staggered crossroads – something commonly seen on the continent but less so here.

Forest Road is also included in the Isle of Wight Council speed review and it is possible that its 50mph limit will be adjusted.

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In January 2021, County Hall considered ways to improve road safety at the junction near Newport – but ruled out traffic lights. This decision was considered last night (Tuesday), following the management change in May 2021.

A 64-year-old woman from the Isle of Wight died, 3 members of her family were seriously injured and people on a double-decker bus were also injured in the April 2019 crash.

In July 2020, the driver of a second car, Yaashmi Ravikumar (then 20), from Essex, was sent to a young offenders institute for 18 months, after admitting charges of causing the death and serious injury from dangerous driving. His sentence was increased to 2 years and 4 months in a young offenders facility in September 2020.

A petition calling for traffic lights at the junction which also joins Betty Haunt Lane has garnered nearly 7,000 signatures. Instead, Isle of Wight Council opted to realign a hedge, more signs and install other road safety measures, such as a non-slip road surface. The anti-slip works were completed in October 2021.

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At Tuesday night’s Business Review Committee meeting, Councilor Jordan said installing traffic lights would cost around £500,000 and said they were not always the best safety solution.

Concerns were raised about queuing at red lights at different levels of visibility and the meeting heard that traffic lights can, in certain circumstances, increase the level of danger and the likelihood of rear shunts.

In November 2020, a report by road contractor, Island Roads, looked at the feasibility of different options for the junction, including traffic lights and a roundabout.

Forest Road is one of the busiest roads on the island and is the main road from Newport to West Wight. It is thought to be used by 10,000 vehicles a day and remains in the top 10 of the Isle of Wight Council’s list of road safety interventions.

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