Southend’s highways boss to address Kent Elms safety fears

August 23, 2019 by

Southend’s cabinet member for highways has sought to address concerns from fellow councillors about the safety of the Kent Elms junctions and will publish a safety audit to present at a special briefing in the autumn.

Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and inward investment, has made a commitment to publish the audit report and discuss its findings in autumn after concerns were raised by residents and fellow councillors about the safety of the junction and in particular, the merger lane on the Southend-bound carriageway.

Cllr Woodley said: “We are a listening administration and are always happy to hear the views and concerns of fellow councillors and residents.

“There is a statutory process of independently auditing the safety of highways schemes, which sees various audits taking place at the design, construction and post-construction stages.

“We are nearing completion of the latest safety audit, which I plan to share with all councillors at a briefing session in the autumn. The next stage of auditing takes place around twelve months after the junction being opened and will also be shared with fellow councillors for discussion.

“I have recently spent time with highways officers reviewing police accident data available for the junction over the past four years. This shows that the majority of accidents at this junction have been a result of vehicles failing to stop at lights and hitting cars in front. One accident occurred as a result of a car changing from the second to the first lane and not the merge itself while another was the result of drug driving.

“We work with Essex Police and keep a watching brief on road safety. If any suggested changes arise from future audits, then these will be taken on board and discussed with councillors. But it is only right and sensible that we are able to see the full picture, follow the statutory guidelines and make decisions based on hard evidence.”

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