Grieving mum calls for action on death road

Crossing over the A690 Carville Link Road at Kepier Lane, near Durham.
Crossing over the A690 Carville Link Road at Kepier Lane, near Durham.
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A MOTHER says not enough has been done to prevent another tragedy on the road where her 13-year-old son was killed.

St Leonard’s School student Brandon Nugent was hit by a car on the A690 eastbound dual carriageway out of Durham City, in March 2011.

His mother Madeline Walker said Durham County Council should drop the limit from 70mph to 50mph.

But that looks set to be rejected.

Council officers have recommended that councillors on the Highway Committee vote to leave the limit unchanged, when they meet on Friday.

“I’m disappointed that it has been dismissed,” said Madeline.

“Cars come along the A690 at 50mph all the way until they get to that 70mph section.”

She said she was grateful that improvements had been made for crossing the road, but added: “They have done some work, but I don’t think it’s enough. We’re still so proud of Brandon. His friends keep in touch, and there’s a big presence on Facebook, and his school put up a bench as a memorial.

“Nothing can bring him back.

“But there are families like ours around the world going through similar situations, whose child has been lost.

“This could happen again.”

In a public consultation run by the council, 34 people (23 per cent) were in favour of cutting the speed limit, but 116 people (77 per cent) were against the proposal.

Comments from residents included a claim the “proposal is a completely unjustified knee-jerk reaction to a tragic accident”, claims it would increase congestion, views that the road is not dangerous, and the decrease in speed would not be policed.

A Durham Police report into the plans agreed it would be an “enforcement burden,” and stated that while there have been nine slight accidents between January 2009 and July 2012, only one involved excess speed.

Traffic management officer Maxine Stubbs has said the idea of dropping the limit conflicts with national criteria.

However, she added: “Should the level of community concern in this matter, which needs to be seriously considered, be such that a lower speed limit is the overall preferred option, then no direct objection to this proposal will be raised by police.”

Her report also stated although there have been two fatal accidents involving people on foot – the other a man under the influence of alcohol who was wearing dark clothing and walking down the middle of the road – these were due to pedestrian error.

Those who submitted comments to the council also said the £100,000 needed to pay for the change could be better spent elsewhere.

A report into the consultation says: “Following consideration of all the relevant factors and responses received to the public consultation, it is felt that the current speed limit is appropriate to the road and should be retained.”

The proposal will be discussed at 10am in Committee Room two at County Hall, Durham.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham