End of the road for blackspots?

NOTORIOUS accident blackspots on rural roads in Somerset could soon be a thing of the past. Campaigners in Cross, Axbridge and Shipham have been fighting for years to have speed limits slashed and dangerous junctions changed. Now, a massive review of spee

NOTORIOUS accident blackspots on rural roads in Somerset could soon be a thing of the past.Campaigners in Cross, Axbridge and Shipham have been fighting for years to have speed limits slashed and dangerous junctions changed.Now, a massive review of speed limits on the county's A and B roads is being carried out and town and parish councils in the area are getting the chance to have their voices heard.Axbridge Town Council is hoping the review will put an end to a series of accidents which have happened at the notorious Townsend junction.The council is appealing for the speed limit on the slip road off the bypass to be dropped from 60mph to 20mph due to a number of accidents and near misses, but Somerset Highways has previously told members the cost would be too high.Town mayor, Barry Hamblin, said: "The junction is very dangerous. People are frightened to use it.""Somerset Highways is changing the markings on the road to make visibility better for people to go on the bypass, but we would like the speed limit reduced."The council is asking people to inform it of any accidents and near misses at the blackspot, through its website, so it can hand the evidence to the authorities to support its case.Shipham residents are hoping speed limits will be cut in the village and surrounding neighbourhoods.The 30mph speed limit is currently only through the centre of the village, although there are plans in place to extend it to built-up areas, but the parish council would like the whole of the village covered to prevent motorists speeding through.Compton Bishop is also appealing for change, but the council and concerned residents want the speed limit in their parish taken away, along with the large restriction signs.Chairman Michael Tobin said: "The speed limit in Compton Bishop is 30mph but it's completely useless. There are lots of signs stating the limit for drivers and residents want them removed because they hate them. They don't want a speed limit at all because it's a single lane road with ditches on both sides and you can't do more than 20mph."But not everyone thinks speed restrictions help. Cheddar Parish Council chairman, Peter Lythgoe, said: "The main road through the village, the A371, is right outside our house and you can put whatever speed limit you want on it, it won't make a difference."It's just a waste of money. People still speed through villages because they're country roads and reducing the speed limit won't help."The review of speed limits is being carried out by the Department of Transport over the next four years.


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