Campaigners against the proposed North West Relief Road (NWRR) in Shrewsbury have called on Shropshire Council to review the scheme’s safety after a series of collisions on the county’s roads.
It comes after several serious road traffic accidents in the county over the last week, including a bus overturning in a field on the A528 near Ellesmere because the driver had to take evasive action to avoid an oncoming car; two injured in a head on crash with a lorry on the A49 near Onibury; and a pedestrian hit by a car on a major roundabout in Shrewsbury.
Speaking on behalf of Better Shrewsbury Transport (BeST), Frank Oldacre said:
“We are seeing a disturbing number of collisions, injuries, and deaths in Shropshire’s roads this year. This raises new questions about the safety of the proposed North West Relief Road. We are calling on Shropshire Council to rethink the NWRR’s design, particularly in light of the changes made last year to remove the climbing lane on the NWRR’s viaduct between Berwick Road and Holyhead Road in an attempt to reduce costs.
“It doesn’t take much imagination to see that this cost-cutting measure has the potential to turn the NWRR into a death trap. A frustrated driver following a slow vehicle uphill will be tempted to overtake and be faced with someone speeding downhill towards them. The driver of the bus involved in the recent accident near Ellesmere was able to swerve into a field, but on the single carriage viaduct over the Severn there would be no escape from a high speed head on collision. It is completely unacceptable attempts to save money have led to a dangerous design. We think Shropshire Council needs to review the road’s safety measures before continuing with the scheme.”
The campaigners have also raised concerns over the NWRR’s cycleway, which will run along the length of its route.
Says Frank Oldacre: “It is unacceptable that the council is choosing to ignore the latest safety guidelines. New government guidance for cycleways published in June 2020 condemned the old standard in no uncertain terms, saying it was creating dangerous conditions for cyclists. Shropshire Council cannot prioritise cost over the safety of users. We would like to see an independent review of the scheme’s safety before the road goes to planning.”