Call for a safer A19 gathers pace with double party backing

Lib Dem Councillor Stephen O'Brien at the A19 between Hastings Hill and Herrington in Sunderland.
Lib Dem Councillor Stephen O'Brien at the A19 between Hastings Hill and Herrington in Sunderland.

An MP’s call for action to make the A19 safer has received cross-party backing.

Stephen Hepburn, Labour member for Jarrow, has called on transport chiefs to look into additional safety measures to save life and limb on the vital route through the region.

Labour member for Jarrow, Stephen Hepburn.

Labour member for Jarrow, Stephen Hepburn.

Sunderland’s Liberal Democrats have added their voice to the campaign after Mr Hepburn raised the issue once again in the House of Commons during Transport Questions.

Mr Hepburn has joined Easington MP Grahame Morris in calling for an inquiry into the risks on the route, which is also backed by our Safe A19 campaign.

During the discussions, Transport Minister Jesse Norman said that a number of studies and safety schemes are planned and that the Government “take all issues of safety very seriously, including the A19.”

He added: “I have visited the A19 myself and seen the schemes.

The safety of motorists and the need to end tailbacks and delays on the A19 must be a priority for the Government.

Councillor Stephen O’Brien

“We have further schemes planned, and always with safety in mind.”

Wearside’s Lib Dems have said the Government’s response was “too vague and showed their complacency on improving safety and ending delays on the A19.”

Sunderland City Council Lib Dem deputy leader and Sandhill ward member Councillor Stephen O’Brien said: “The A19 is a key artery that is vital for the local economy in Sunderland and across the North East.

“As such, it deserves a fair share of government investment which is much needed to reduce delays and improve safety.

Our campaign logo.

Our campaign logo.

“At the moment we see scores of accidents, incidents, road closures and tailbacks every year on the A19 - vague promises from the Government of studies and schemes just aren’t good enough and show the complacent attitude of ministers on this issue.

“We need specific proposals for improvements and ambitious timescales to deliver them.

“The safety of motorists and the need to end tailbacks and delays on the A19 must be a priority for the Government.

“Liberal Democrats locally and in Parliament will be doing all we can to keep up the pressure on the Department for Transport to deliver a fair share of transport investment for the A19, Sunderland and the North East.”

Mr Hepburn has raised his concerns with ministers on a series of occasions and has previously been told by Mr Norman that since 2011, safety improvements have been delivered an a number of locations on the road, including improvements to traffic signals and road markings, provision of additional road capacity to reduce congestion, and improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

He also noted that the Road Investment Strategy spanning from 2015 to 2020 announced three schemes for delivery on the A19, which are projected to save at least 380 casualties over a 60-year period.

But Mr Hepburn has said there are still an “abnormally high number of incidents” on the A19’s stretch through the North East.

He has said of the pressure is kept up, the Government will look into their causes, preventing injuries and fatalities.

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