U-turn ban plan for killer Hartlepool stretch of A19
Central reservations could be closed and U-turns completely banned in a new bid to improve safety on a killer stretch of the A19.
The new proposals for the dual carriageway between its Sheraton and Wolviston junctions, on the edge of Hartlepool, have been jointly unveiled today by Hartlepool Borough Council and Highways England.
Seven fatal accidents took place on the six-mile stretch of road from 2008 to the end of last year.
Both authorities now aim to close central reservation gaps at the junctions for Dalton Piercy, Coal Lane/Elwick Road and North Lane.
U-turns would also be banned at remaining crossing points.
Any changes would be introduced after the expected February 2019 completion of ongoing improvements to the A19-A179 Sheraton interchange.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We’re working hard with colleagues at Highways England to deliver important safety improvements on the A19.
“We do appreciate these proposed improvements may affect some residents but believe the obvious safety benefits are vitally important for all."
The work would be in addition to previously announced plans for an Â£18m Elwick bypass - also known as the Western Growth Corridor - which includes a bridge over the A19.
Coun Akers-Belcher said: “We’re also looking to create a Western Growth Corridor which will provide a further route into Hartlepool.
"But unfortunately we can’t commence any work on this route until planning permission is obtained and relevant land acquisitions completed.”
A public consultation period is now underway on the idea of closing the three central reservations.
Among the arguments previously used against such plans is that the crossings are used by farming vehicles to reach land on the opposite sides of the A19.
Ben Dobson, from Highways England, said: “The safety of drivers on the A19 is of the highest importance to us and we’re working closely with Hartlepool Borough Council to deliver these improvements.
"This is part of our ongoing work to review the whole of the A19, including if any further gaps can be closed.
"Any proposals for significant change to the A19 will always consider the diverse needs of the communities who use this road.”
To have your say on the proposed closure of the central reservation gaps, email [email protected] or write to Anthony Finney, 3 South, Lateral, 8 City Walk, Leeds, LS11 9AT.