MP presses for further safety measures to combat crashes on M11 at Stortford
Bishop’s Stortford’s MP Mark Prisk has called for a “comprehensive approach” to make the M11 safer for motorists.
He has been lobbying Highways England and Essex Police to upgrade signs and the road surface while clamping down on dangerous driving.
The Conservative’s concerns were sparked by complaints from constituents after a rash of accidents and carriageway closures.
He said: “I have met with Highways England (HE) to discuss the levels of accidents on the M11, particularly between the M25 and junction 8. I set out the level of concern amongst people locally about road safety, layout and lighting issues and also about the bad driving seen all too frequently.”
Highways England has now come up with a map showing the improvement work it has
scheduled for 2019-2020 plus:
Improvements to some advance direction signs to give drivers a clearer indication of destinations and road layout ahead.
Better road markings using a highly reflective material on unlit sections of the northbound carriageway to reduce night-time collisions.
Clearance of trees and vegetation in the verges to improve forward visibility.
Closure of gaps between nearside verge sections of existing barrier to reduce the risk of a vehicle leaving the carriageway.
A Highways England study of incidents on the M11, undertaken last year, showed a higher number than average involving three or more vehicles and that crashes were more likely to occur on the northbound carriageway at night. There were more rear-end shunts on the southbound carriageway and vehicles skidding on a wet surface was a factor.
In addition to calling for improved signage and surfacing, Mr Prisk said he had discussed whether the whole of the M11 might benefit from becoming a ‘smart motorway’ which would mean an increase in both road capacity and the displayed information and speeds.
He said: “This might help reduce some dangerous driving, but would also mean directing lawful drivers more often. As the volume of traffic on the motorway continues to rise I suspect this may become more important and I will consult with other MPs along the M11 to see if this is something which has general support.”
Mr Prisk concluded: “The proposed works will be helpful in dealing with specific issues which have been raised with me, such as late and inadequate signage for junction 8 and improving the road surface in areas where there have been several accidents. However, on their own they aren’t enough. First, there are real issues about the capacity of the road, especially north of junction 8.
"Second, many people have highlighted bad and dangerous driving as the cause of incidents so I have contacted Essex Police to find out how often they patrol the motorway and see what can be done to improve this. Put simply we need a comprehensive approach to this.”
Work to add a new junction 7a, linking Harlow and the M11, close to Sheering is already underway and Essex County Council has also planned an upgrade to junction 8 at Bishop’s Stortford as Stansted Airport expands.