Cabinet members have approved plans to improve visibility at the junction of Forest Road and Whitehouse Road, near Newport.
The scheme will involve potential changes to the designation of the road junctions on 2 sides – from ‘give way’ to ‘stop’ – and realigning hedgerow to extend visibility splays when entering Forest Road from Whitehouse Road.
In addition, speed limits could be reduced as part of an Island-wide strategic speed review. The road is currently a 60mph as there are no street lights, no pavements and very few properties.
In April 2019, a woman travelling as a passenger on Forest Road died when a car failed to give way at the crossroads, resulting in a 3-vehicle collision. The incident was declared a major incident and required 4 air ambulances to be called in.
Although a police investigation apportioned no blame on the junction layout, Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said the council was committed to improving road safety. He said:
“This was an horrific collision in which a life was tragically cut short; we send our deepest condolences to the families involved and to all those affected.
“It was only right for us to consider what improvements could be made to this junction to help prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.
“Therefore, tonight, we have asked that a scheme be designed and costed to realign the hedgerow to improve visibility splays. This will be included in the 2021/22 Highways Capital Improvement Programme.
“In addition, we will review the speed limit along Forest Road and consider other measures such as a staggered junction, a protected right turn or replacing the current ‘give way’ junctions with ‘stop’ junctions.
“The changes will then be monitored to assess their impact.”
The installation of traffic lights – as requested in a petition lodged with the council following the collision – was not recommended as an option without a full review of all other potential schemes. Costing up to £600,000, Cabinet members heard a signalised junction at this rural location could potentially increase the number of collisions.