Newport councillors call for probe into SDR lorry crashes
9:12am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
COUNCILLORS called for more investigations into ways to improve traffic management on the SDR following their concerns about lorries overturning on the road.
At a meeting of Newport’s Street Scene regeneration and safety scrutiny committee, councillors asked for contractors Morgan Vinci to look into linage on the road.
They also raised concerns about contingency plans for the future to reduce gridlock on the SDR when parts of the M4 are closed due to an incident.
The discussion came after members of the committee expressed their concerns about road safety issues on the SDR following recent accidents involving lorries overturning.
Adrian Glenn, of Morgan Vinci, attended a meeting to address the committee.
Mr Glenn said that following two incidents last summer when a heavy goods vehicle overturned, transport consultant Capita Symonds carried out investigations to see if there was any cause, but found nothing untoward.
But Mr Glenn said Morgan Vinci wanted to do something and worked with the Street Scene team to introduce adverse camber signs to try to slow lorries down.
Mr Glenn said although there are no adverse cambers, it can feel as though there are if you approach certain areas of the SDR at speed.
Chairman of the committee Cllr Roger Jeavons raised the issue of linage on the road, particularly near Nash Road, where two lanes of the road enter into three lanes and then merge back into two.
Mr Glenn said this original design, which the council adopted, had been based on the road operating at full capacity, which is around three to four times the level of traffic on the road now. He said there were therefore discussions as to whether it would now be sensible to eliminate lanes. Around 400,000 vehicles use the road every month.
With regard to reducing gridlock on the road when there is an incident on the M4, Mr Glenn said discussions were going on with the Welsh Government about what can be done, with suggested proposals including putting controlled traffic-lights along the road.
An update on the SDR will now be presented at the next meeting of the scrutiny committee.
ARGUS COMMENT: Traffic volume an issue for SDR
WE have speculated on more than one occasion in this column about the reasons behind the apparently high number of accidents involving lorries on Newport’s Southern Distributor Road.
Since the SDR opened in 2004 there have been at least 15 instances of lorries overturning or shedding their loads at roundabouts. There were three such accidents last year alone.
Nowthe city’s councillors are considering ways to make the road safer.
One of the options being considered by contractors Morgan Vinci is to install more traffic-lights along the SDR.Wefail to see howthis would improve road safety or reduce accidents involving heavy goods vehicles.
They might add to congestion but traffic-lights will not help if the accidents are being caused by faulty road design or poor driving.
Wedo agree with a proposal to reduce the number of lanes heading into and out of some roundabouts on the SDR. At least one roundabout, near Nash Road, creates confusion and regular near-misses due to three lanes merging into two. The biggest issue facing those responsible for the SDR, however, is the ever-increasing level of traffic using the road.
While the road is still handling three to four times belowthe amount of traffic for which it was designed that is a situation that will not last forever. And that is a problem that won’t be solved with lane closures or traffic-lights.