It was meant to be the super highway that put an end to drivers risking life and limb on the killer A1073.
But the new stretch of the A16 between Spalding and Crowland has claimed eight lives since it opened in August 2010. Average speed cameras are likely to be installed next June, covering junctions in Crowland, to put the brakes on drivers who press the pedal to the metal.
Speeding isn’t a deadly threat on the A16 alone: it affects places like West Marsh Road in Spalding, where there are regular mobile enforcement camera checks, and Moulton Seas End, where drivers race along a straight piece of road coming off the A17. Again mobile cameras go there to catch culprits.
Holbeach Parish Council is reeling from shock findings of a two-week Speed Awareness Camera operation that caught 2,152 vehicles recording speeds of 45mph to a staggering 85mph in the 40mph limit on Spalding Road.
Most of that speeding went on between 11pm and 6am, when most people are in bed, but Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership is poised to investigate.
In Spalding, former district councillor Jane Jones, of Shire Avenue, highlighted concerns about traffic on the main Wygate Park estate road, including speeding – and the road safety partnership has again promised to investigate after receiving video footage from the Free Press (see below).
Community leaders in Crowland have welcomed average speed cameras on the A16 as a first step, but want further safety measures too.
County councillor Nigel Pepper said: “I have not been advised on the proposed positions of the cameras yet but it needs some careful consideration and lateral thinking as the old Crowland bypass is increasingly becoming a ‘rat run’ in an attempt to reach a point quicker than those travelling on the A16.
“Furthermore we must not run away with the fact that this is the answer to our prayers as the A16/B1166 and A16/B1040 junctions are both unsatisfactory and the majority of motorists fear for their lives when crossing the A16 at these junctions.”
Parish council chairman David Ringham said speed has been a factor in fatalities on the A16 but, right from the outset, his council asked for roundabouts rather than junctions because members knew junctions would be a problem.
He said: “We are not giving up on that (having roundabouts) just yet.”
But Coun Ringham welcomed the road safety partnership’s intended investment, saying: “I am pleased that they are looking at Crowland. Normally, because we are right on the edge of Lincolnshire, we tend to get forgotten somewhat.”
District councillor Bryan Allcock says traffic travels too fast on James Road, which has become a rat run, and he wouldn’t support average speed cameras on the A16 unless they go on James Road too.
A former editor of the Free Press branded the A1073 as “a highway to death” because of so many fatal and serious accidents. Hopes were high for a safer future when the new, £80.3million A16 opened.
What went so very badly wrong?
Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership spokesman John Siddle said: “This should not be happening because it is a brand new road.
“Visibility is good, the surface is good – everything about it should be absolutely pristine and safe.
“But, for some reason, people are saying ‘wow, you can really quick on here’ and just stick their foot down.”
The county’s first average speed cameras installed five years ago on the A52 at Ropsley, near Grantham, have prompted a 57 per cent fall in the number of crashes and a 70-plus per cent cut in casualties.
Mr Siddle said there was a fall of 55 per cent in the number of people killed or seriously injured, which he described as “fantastic” and “absolutely beyond our expectations”.
He continued: “I think, significantly, there’s definitely some people alive today because those cameras are in place. Prior to that it seemed almost on a weekly basis there was a crash on that A52.
“It was all about overtaking – people were just doing these crazy overtakes at speed and it was all going wrong.
“We had lots of head-ons and these cameras basically stopped all that.”
A second system went live in another blackspot on the A15 at Metheringham, south of Lincoln, last month.
• Former district councillor Jane Jones was worried about lorries thundering over sleeping policemen – and near misses on an estate road – when she contacted us.
We filmed a short video on Wygate Park Road, sent it to Lincolnshire County Council and now Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership has promised to do a “covert” Archer, speed check survey some time soon.
A similar survey is on the cards for Holbeach once tests have been carried out to test the accuracy of equipment used to for a Speed Awareness Camera operation.
Mr Siddle said Archer survey monitoring relies on kit that few motorists would spot.
“Drivers don’t tend to react to it,” he said. “We don’t want to deter them from what they are doing – we want to know what they are doing.”
Depending on the results, such surveys are normally followed by enforcement.
• Please tell us about speeding where you live and email your traffic videos to firstname.lastname@example.org