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Call to slow down at Southwick Tunnel from driving expert
5:30am Friday 31st January 2014 in News
A motoring expert is calling for a lower speed limit to reduce the number of crashes near the Southwick Tunnel.
Neil Greig from the Institute of Advanced Motorists said there seemed to be no other reason than speed for the succession of collisions on the A27 Brighton bypass.
There were delays on both sides of the A27 at rush-hour on Wednesday after two crashes near the tunnel.
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And a collision on January 15 left the road closed for three hours, causing traffic chaos and prompting MP Tim Loughton to call the stretch of dual-carriageway a “safety risk”.
But Mr Greig, who is director of policy and research at the IAM, said there was nothing engineering-wise wrong with the road.
He said: “It seems to be driver error and speed that are the issues.”
Mr Greig said the only way to improve safety along the short stretch of tunnel was to introduce a lower speed limit alongside strict enforcement.
He added: “It is very difficult to change a tunnel engineering-wise.
“The tunnel needs to be actively monitored 24/7 with a view to safety.”
The Southwick Tunnel is relatively new in tunnel-terms, opened in 1996, but is too short to be included on a European wide tunnel safety rating system.
Mr Greig said including shorter tunnels such as the Southwick Tunnel would mean there was an independent body monitoring safety in the tunnel.
“Otherwise we just have to accept whatever the Highways Agency tells us,” said Mr Greig.”
Meanwhile the Highways Agency has confirmed it is in the process of arranging a meeting with Mr Loughton following the West Worthing and Shoreham MP’s concerns.
A spokesman said: “Safety is a top priority for the Highways Agency; our roads are amongst the safest in the world and we regularly review safety on the A27. We are working with partners, including Sussex Police and the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, to further improve safety on the A27 and last year, for example, improved the approach to the A27, towards the tunnel, from Holmbush.
"We are in the process of arranging a meeting with Tim Loughton MP having received his request.”
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