Marcus Jones, MP for Nuneaton, has been named Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Group for his work campaigning for improvements to the A5 Long Shoot junction. The campaign has secured improvements to help drivers navigate the junction safely and avoid crashes.
Marcus' campaign began at the end of 2012, shortly after work had been undertaken to improve traffic flow on the A5 by removing a dedicated lane for drivers turning right onto Long Shoot. The removal of the lane led to confusion about where drivers should position themselves, meaning some were getting caught in dangerous positions, sometimes in the way of oncoming traffic.
After constituents started raising concerns about the dangers to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, Marcus wrote to the Highways Agency asking them to review the site. When the Highways Agency agreed to monitor the situation, Marcus wrote to Transport Minister Stephen Hammond asking for the monitoring period to be shortened, to ensure vital safety improvements could be made as quickly as possible.
In February, the Minister confirmed that a complete safety audit of the junction would be carried out to determine if improvements were needed.
As part of the audit, Marcus urged his local constituents to get in touch and tell him about their concerns. He received dozens of responses, which he fed back to the Minister. In March, Stephen Hammond visited the junction himself, following an invitation from Marcus, in light of the response. After seeing conditions at the site, the Minister agreed to ask his officials to look urgently at potential solutions.
On April 12, Marcus welcomed news that the junction was to be improved and is keen to work with the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency to ensure that any works are appropriate for the junction The scheme will include new signage and carriageway markings to help drivers navigate the junctions safely, and will improve facilities for pedestrians. The work should also reduce delays by increasing capacity and managing traffic more effectively at the junction. Works are due to be completed in 2014.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, said: "Marcus' proactive campaign is a great example of what can be achieved to prevent devastating road casualties before they happen, particularly by listening to the concerns of local residents. All too often we see campaigns failing to get momentum until after a tragedy strikes. Thanks to Marcus' dedication, and his effective harnessing of constituent concern, improvements have been agreed at this risky junction before anyone has been seriously hurt. We congratulate Marcus on his hard work, and wish him luck in his future campaigns."
Marcus Jones, MP for Nuneaton, said: "I am delighted to have received such a prestigious award and for having this important campaign recognised by BRAKE. This of course does not leave any room for complacency and I am determined to continue to pursue this issue and work with local people to try and secure a positive and safe outcome for this junction."
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