Echo campaign calls for Government inquiry into A19 safety after spate of crashes

Northbound traffic at a standstill on the A19 following an incident around the Hylton Bridge.
Northbound traffic at a standstill on the A19 following an incident around the Hylton Bridge.
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Today we are launching a new campaign calling on the Government to launch an inquiry into safety on the A19.

Our campaign is pressing the Department for Transport to listen to the voice of the North East and launch an inquiry into safety on the A19 over the number of collisions which put lives at risk and bring us to a halt all too often.

In addition to signing our petition, campaigning MP Grahame Morris wants you to send your views directly to highways chiefs to get the message across that we have had enough.

The petition has also been backed by Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson.

It comes on the back of two serious collisions within the last a few days.

Two people were left seriously hurt in Monday night’s four-vehicle smash on the northbound carriageway, a short distance from the B1404 Seaton Lane, which left the road closed for six hours.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

Yesterday, just before 9am a six-car pile up near the A1018 sliproad from Ryhope ,at Seaham, closed the southbound route for more than an hour, leaving thousands of vehicles in a jam, which trailed back to Sunderland.

Figures of fatal, serious and slight injury accidents during 2016 are still being calculated and confirmed, but initial statistics show that between the Wolviston interchange and Testo’s Roundabout at Boldon, there have been about 36 collisions involving 88 vehicles, causing 71 injuries, with six of those smashes classed as serious.

Figures for the year before found there were three deaths on the road, 41 serious crashes and 275 slight, with six of the serious collisions on the section between Boldon and Seaham.

There have been about 300 collisions along the full stretch of the A19 each year going back to 2011.

Tailbacks are a regular problem on the A19 following collisions.

Tailbacks are a regular problem on the A19 following collisions.

The inquiry has been proposed by Easington MP Grahame Morris, who faced delays to reach an event he was attending yesterday morning due to the collision.

He has already began to tweet the department – @transportgovuk – calling for action, and urges others to follow his lead using the hashtags #A19 #RoadSafety #InvestInTheNorth and #SafeA19.

We have also launched a petition via Change.org to gather support for the campaign.

He said: “I want them to recognise the fact that we have got a disproportionate number of accidents on that part of the A19, especially the section from Seaham, through Sunderland and to Testo’s Roundabout.

Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South.

Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South.

“I want them to do a huge inquiry and I want them to look at the causes and reasons there are so many incidents.

“It could be a combination of an increase in users and often it’s down to weather conditions –although the most recent crash happened on a nice day – and the slip roads, with some of them not long enough.

“The length of slip roads is also an important issue at the service station at Hawthorn, or Easington as it’s now known, because its slip roads are very short and it’s really difficult for people to get back onto the carriageway.

“It’s also an important route for Nissan.

“For the minister to say it’s for the police to enforce, when Durham has lost 25% of its budget and 478 officers since 2010, it’s a bit of a cop-out.

“The accident yesterday was not a one-off, it’s a regular occurrence. There are other causes of these accidents and we want to get to the bottom of it.”

Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said: “Collisions on the A19 are sadly becoming all the more regular, which can have a devastating impact on the driver, passengers and their loved ones.

“Not only this, but commuters are experiencing frequent delays to their journey because of such accidents that could be avoided.

“I support the calls for a Government inquiry into road safety and collisions on the A19 so that tragic accidents and delays can become the exception and not the rule.”

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson added: “We urgently need to find out why these accidents are happening and what can be done to prevent them.

“It doesn’t help that the Department for Transport has yet to publish figures on the number of fatal, serious and slight injury accidents that occurred on the A19 last year.

“Ministers should get their act together and get these statistics published as soon as possible so we can get a clearer picture of what is actually going on.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to road safety, it seems that this government is asleep at the wheel.”

Our petition can be signed HERE.