Experts’ plan for a safer road

Councillor Glen Sanderson on the A697
Councillor Glen Sanderson on the A697

Experts have proposed a string of road safety measures for the A697 to improve its accident record.

Last year, Northumberland County Council commissioned Aecom to analyse the 68km road following safety concerns.

Now the findings have been published, highlighting five priority sections, based on recorded collisions.

These are Longframlington to Longhorsley, Fenrother to the A1, Coeburn to Knogley, Bowchester to Coldgatehaugh and Roseden to Hedgeley.

Common themes in relation to accidents include driver error, excessive speed, HGV-related collisions and the condition of signs, road markings and route geometry.

The review suggests intervention measures to be considered in future transport plans, including signing and lining improvements, speed reduction measures, and an awareness campaign.

Coun Glen Sanderson, who has been campaigning for improvements, said: “While I am grateful for this report, and there is some good stuff in it, I don’t believe it is enough and I hope that this is just the first step.

“I would like recommendations for more substantial improvements. There is a heck of a long way to go and we need to keep the pressure on to make the A697 as safe as it ought to be. The amount of A697 traffic is bound to rise during the A1 dualling works so before that happens we need substantial work on the A697.”