A STRETCH of the A465 in north Gwent had not been salted in accordance with trunk road policy on the morning last February when a 26 year-old driver was killed, an inquest was told.
Gwent area coroner Wendy James will highlight her concerns to South Wales Trunk Road Agent (SWTRA) bosses, after concluding that dentist Joanna Greensmith's death was accidental.
Mrs Greensmith, of Pontrilas, Herefordshire, was driving to work in Cardiff at around 6.15am on Monday February 10, when her car skidded on black ice just inside the Gwent border, near Llangua.
She died of multiple injuries after her Ford Fiesta skidded on black ice, spun out of control for 80 metres, and hit a tree.
Gwent Coroner's Court was told by Gwent Police collision investigator PC Tony Parker that water run-off from nearby fields froze on the road during the night, creating a "very localised" patch of ice. The road had been treated at 5pm the previous afternoon, but not during that morning.
Asked by Ms James why, though SWTRA had a policy on salting, it had decided not to treat, PC Parker said he understood a section of the A465 fromAbergavenny into the Heads of the Valleys was treated due to its altitude, while the crash section was not.
Asked by Ms James if, according to the policy in place, the crash section should have been treated, PC Parker said yes, as there was an indication the temperature would fall below freezing. It was not known when that would happen, but the road should have been retreated before frost formed.
A SWTRA route steward had not noticed running water previously at that spot, and it was not identified as a seepage area.
Other motorists told police their vehicles had "slipped" and "twitched" due to the black ice, and the first person on the scene reported the road surface as being slick because of it.
Ms James said there was no evidence Mrs Greensmith had been rushing to get to work.
"With the prevailing weather conditions and water, this led to treacherous conditions," she said.
"This location should have been monitored and treated in accordance with the policy in place, but it had not been.
This has led to Joanne's death in the most tragic circumstances.
"I will be writing and reporting to SWTRA highlighting my concerns that the road was not treated in accordance with its policy."