Highways dismiss father’s plea for A27 safety

Steve Bernard SUS-140630-101423001
Steve Bernard SUS-140630-101423001

A FATHER’S plea to improve road safety at a junction on the A27 where his son died in has been refused.

Tony Bernard, whose 18-year-old son Steve died in a collision in 2005, is backing the A27 Action – a group lobbying the government to improve the busy route.

But his appeal for the Highways Agency to close the central reserve gap at Nyton Lane – the road where Steve and his two friends were killed – has been rejected.

A letter from David Brewer, executive director at the Highways Agency said: “We have given this serious consideration but we have no plans at the moment to close the central reserve gap on the A27 at the junction with the B2233 at Nyton Lane.”

He said the decision was based on a review of the road’s incident statistics and a ‘gap closure feasibility study’.

“As part of these consultations, serious concerns were raised about the route’s ability to cope with the increase in traffic that the closure of the Yapton and Crockerhill gaps would cause.”

Mr Brewer said Sussex Police were concerned there would be a ‘greater risk of collisions occurring elsewhere on the surrounding network’ as a result of the closure.

“It’s a bit ironic because both the police and the council said to us at the time of the accident that they would like to see the gap closed but it was down to the Highways Agency,” said Mr Bernard. “Anything that will improve safety and save people’s lives has to be a bonus.”

Mr Bernard contacted the agency in 2009 when initial talks after Steve’s death yielded no results.

At the time he wrote: “Could you update us please on how these proposals are progressing, we would hope very dearly that they are going ahead and it wasn’t just window dressing talk given to us at our darkest moments.”

However, Mr Bernard, his wife Sue and son Jacques heard no response for three an a half years – and wrote to the agency again last month to make sure the issue had not been ‘swept under the carpet’.

The agency said it has assessed the last five years of accident statistics which showed there has been six ‘slight’ and ‘one serious accident’ at the Nyton Lane junction. Mr Brewer also said improvements have been made to the kerb lines and signs at the junction.