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DAILY POST: Take action urgently on danger road.

A NOTHER tragedy on the A55 begs the answer to a simple question. How many people must die before the necessary steps are taken to make the main artery through North Wales as safe as any other such major road?

Only last December a senior police officer described the road as a "catastrophe waiting to happen."

For one family that catastrophe has happened.

Ten-year-old girl Chloe Clark died and her big sister Chelsea was badly hurt on a stretch of the A55 approaching Rhuallt Hill.

While it's too early to speculate what exactly caused the crash, certain safety measures must be taken to guard the 80-mile stretch of road against such horrific accidents.

Rhuallt Hill is the focus of attention. More than over 100 accidents have occurred there since April last year.

The carriageway is in dire need of a hard shoulder, an escape route for cars and lorries to take if they do encounter problems.

Not having one means traffic on the carriageway is often forced to make swift moves at very short notice.

On top of this there are a multitude of lay-bys which are far too short to enter or exit at appropriate speeds.

We must take into account that the A55 is not just a road for commuters and tourists, it's a vital route for trade with Ireland due to the ferry crossing at Holyhead... and it's only going to get busier.

For lorries hardly any of the pull-ins are adequate or safe, and they are the drivers who need them most as they get to grips with what is often the last leg of a gruelling trans-European haul.

Due to the geography and terrain a hard shoulder would be a challenge, but there are just too many horror stories connected to this road for one not to be added.

In November a lorry driver was jailed after stopping in the inside lane to catch a few hours' sleep, while between April 2006 and August 2007 the Vehicle Services Agency stopped 1,699 vehicles, of which 62.9% were on the road with what they regarded as "offences."

Already the road is much busier than it was designed to cope with, and this only reinforces the need for action.

In the words of Chief Superintendent Geraint Anwyl - chairman of the National Roads Policing Intelligence Forum - we can't sit back and do nothing... the A55 gets worse by the day.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 5, 2008
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