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5,500 want a safer road.

Byline: By Matt Casey

A 5,500-signature petition has been handed in demanding safety improvements where a teenager was killed crossing a road because she was too scared to use an underpass.

It was given to councillors demanding a footbridge over the A182 Washington Highway near where Amy Longworth, 13, died.

Her parents, George and Jackie, have been campaigning for improvements and want the fence repaired, the road lit and the speed limit reduced from 70mph.

Amy, of Dunnock Drive, Ayton Village, Washington, was hit by a car earlier this year as she crossed the road on her way home from The Galleries shopping centre.

Last month a coroner heard how Amy and her friend Laura McAnaney had walked on to the dual carriageway through a gap in a perimeter fence at about 8pm on Saturday, March 13.

The frightened pals had opted to cross the road rather than walk through a nearby subway where a youths had congregated, or use an unlit path further up the road. But as Amy ran out to cross the road she was hit by a Nissan Terrano.

At the inquest in Gateshead, Amy's father, 2, demanded safety improvements to prevent another tragedy. He said: "I want to get something good out of this and get something done so that this does not happen to anyone else".

Coroner Terence Carney said he sympathised with Mr Longworth's fears. "I have been persuaded to write to the authorities and put my efforts behind making this road safer." he said.

"It concerns me that this is a stretch of road that is very fast, but unlit, totally unlit.

"I can also understand why 13-year-old girls would be apprehensive about going through an underpass when there is a crowd of youths hanging about."

Andy Morris, Sunderland's head of transport and engineering, said: "The petition has been received by the city council and we will consider the coroner's letter.

"The council has carried out a survey of the area and an audit of subways along with a separate study of high-speed roads to determine where the `desire' lines for crossings have been established.

"The council must now consider a number of options for managing the risks identified at specific locations.

"A report is due soon with a decision expected from the director of development and regeneration."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2004
Words:387
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