Police bosses have joined almost 1,500 people in calling for a dangerous stretch of road to be turned into a dual carriageway.

They want a section of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate to be widened because of the high incidence of fatal road crashes along the highway.

Superintendent Paul Morrison, of Sussex Road Policing Department, has written to the Government calling for work to be approved.

In his letter, due to be sent to the Highways Agency next week, he writes: "As we all know, dual carriageways enjoy a much better safety record than single carriageways and this fact is well demonstrated in East Sussex with the A27 Polegate bypass (dual carriageway) having an accident rate of six personal injury crashes per 100 million vehicle kms, compared with a rate of 26 for the A27 between Beddingham and Polegate (single carriageway)."

He said road police are failing to reach a target of reducing accidents on the county's roads which result in fatality or serious injury. The target has been set at reducing accidents by 40 per cent to 275 a year by 2008. There were 393 in the 12 months to December 31, 2006.

The letter has been signed by director of environment and transport at East Sussex County Council Bob Wilkins and is backed by Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson.

Supt Morrison is also calling for a meeting between the Highways Agency, council and police to discuss the issue.

An online petition was set up last month calling for the road to be dualled and has been signed by almost 1,500 people.

Mr Waterson is planning to take a group of delegates to meet ministers to discuss the safety issue of the A27.

He said: "I have long campaigned for a bog standard dual carriageway between Lewes and Polegate and I wonder how many more people have to be killed or seriously injured before people like Norman Baker see sense."

Norman Baker, MP for Lewes, has come under criticism for his opposition to the dualling when it was recommended by an independent study carried out in 2002 by the South Coast Corridor Multi-Modal Study. He said he objected to dualling the road because he did not believe it would reduce accidents.

Mr Baker said: "I feel some are arguing for the dual carriageway because they don't like sitting in traffic jams rather than accident rates. There is a major crisis with climate change. It's hardly appropriate talking about generating even more carbon emissions as well as destroying protected countryside.

"We all want to reduce accidents and improve safety and that's what I'm trying to do."

Among Mr Baker's proposals for making the road safer are lowering the speed limit to 50 mph and installing speed cameras.

Last month, The Argus reported Mr Baker had been criticised by East Sussex County Council leader Peter Jones who said he should "examine his conscience."

Mr Baker reacted by labelling the attack "despicable."

Traffic problems along the stretch of road are expected to worsen when work begins between Kingston and Cuilfail roundabouts near Lewes.

The petition can be found online at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/list/open?cat=521

What do you think? Should the A27 be dualled between Lewes and Polegate? Leave your comments below.