A FORMER resident who lived near a hazardous junction where a motorist was killed says he warned authorities years previously that something needed to be done to prevent a death.
Gary Hassan contacted the Mail after we carried out a study on the number of vehicles carrying out dangerous u-turns as they leave the A19 northbound at the A179 turn-off.
It comes after former Hartlepool driving instructor Colin Brown was killed when his silver Citroen C4 car was involved in a collision with a minibus last month.
Police said a line of inquiry is that Mr Brown was performing a u-turn at the time, possibly after leaving the sliproad in the left-hand lane as if travelling for Wingate, then turning round towards Hartlepool.
It is a common occurrence, as vehicles drive up the left-hand lane to beat queuing traffic in the right-hand lane.
Gary, 44, who up until recently lived in the cottage at the junction of the B1280 and Hurworth Burn Road, just yards from the smash scene, said: “I reported it many years ago about all u-turns at peak times.
“Then I found out there has been another death on the road. “This death could have been prevented, or something could have been done to prevent it.”
Gary, a dad-of-two who works in Hartlepool but now lives in Sedgefield, said he had raised concerns about people doing u-turns with Maxine Stubbs, in Durham Police’s traffic management team, as well as local MP Phil Wilson and local parish councillor Barry Bates around two-and-a-half years ago.
He added: “I used to see cars doing u-turns every single morning.
“Cars used to be turning at the junction on the 60mph road and others could go into the back of them - what can you do?
“I reported it to the MP, the police and the local council and they didn’t seem to do anything about it.
“It would be good to get some traffic lights there.
“It might cause tailbacks on the A19, but it could save somebody’s life.
“People shouldn’t be doing u-turns on a 60mph road.”
Councillor Bates said he shared Gary’s concerns and added that Durham County Council carried out a speed survey, but it was found that the average speed was under 60mph.
Mr Wilson said: “I am aware of the problem and I will write again to the county council, clearly something needs to be done.”
Dave Wafer, the county council’s traffic manager, said: “There is no easy solution that can be introduced in the short-term to address issues with the use of the junction. However, we are working with the Highways Agency and the police to look at possible options.”
A Durham Police spokeswoman acknowledged concerns and confirmed that the three authorities are working together to find a solution.