Call for A689 safety work

Sally Holbrook, 48, who died in two car crash on A689 near Gratham/Dalton Back Lane on Sun, Dec 23.
Sally Holbrook, 48, who died in two car crash on A689 near Gratham/Dalton Back Lane on Sun, Dec 23.

A MAIN route into Hartlepool was designated as an accident blackspot in need of safety improvements just weeks before the tragic death of a woman in a smash along the same stretch of carriageway, it has emerged.

Hartlepool woman Sally Holbrook, 48, died in a collision on the A689 road, near Greatham, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, just two days before Christmas.

Now it has emerged that transport chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council had already identified the stretch ofthe A689, between Newton Bewley and Greatham, as the priority road safety scheme in town after 13 accidents over the space of three years.

Officers say the road markings and cats eyes are in a very poor condition on that section of road and a number of accidents have taken place during the hours of darkness so they need to be upgraded.

Police are still investigating the collision that claimed the life of Mrs Holbrook and have appealed for two motorists to come forward.

Transport chiefs say safety schemes are prioritised on the basis of the number of accidents with data regularly reviewed.

The A689 between Newton Bewley and Greatham came top between 2009 and 2011, with nine slight accidents and four serious accidents.

Mayor Stuart Drummond, portfolio holder for regeneration and neighbourhoods, is due to meet to discuss the road safety schemes on Thursday, January 10, at 10am at the Civic Centre.

A report written by Alastair Smith, assistant director of transportation and engineering, before the collision highlighted the priority schemes.

Mr Smith said: “Safety schemes are prioritised primarily on the basis of the number of accidents, followed by the level of speeding recorded during surveys.

“Each year road casualty data is reviewed for the previous 3 calendar years, to determine the 20 locations with the highest number of accidents.”

Other priority schemes include the A179 Marina Way road where officers say anti-skid surfacing is required at the Middleton Road roundabout due to a number of “loss of control” accidents.

The Tees Road is also in line for improvements to street lighting and a new vehicle activated sign to highlight the Zinc Works bend, on the approach to the Power Station roundabout.

The A689 works are estimated to cost around £25,000, the A179 works £20,000, and the Tees Road improvements £15,000.

A council spokesman added: “Subject to approval we would anticipate the work being carried out over the course of the next three months.”

The details of Mrs Holbrook’s funeral have been released with the service taking place at Stranton Grange Crematorium on Thursday, January 10 at 1pm.

Mourners are asked to meet at the crematorium chapel.

Mrs Holbrook was driving a blue Vauxhall Agila when it was involved in a collision with a black Ford Focus near to the junction with Dalton Back Lane and police investigating the collision have issued an appeal for two motorists to come forward.

Investigators say at around 5.25pm on Sunday, December 23, the cars, possibly an old style Vauxhall Corsa and black Ford Fiesta, were turning right from the central reservation on the A689 near to Claxton onto the westbound carriageway heading out of Hartlepool.

At the same time the Vauxhall Agila, driven by Pools fan Mrs Holbrook, was waiting to turn right onto Dalton Back Lane.

Officers would like to speak to the drivers of these vehicles as they may have witnessed the collision or have useful information.

They are asked to contact PC Sarah Tribick, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 228873.