Great Easton gas main crash: Residents call for action
- Credit: Archant
DRAMA unfolded in an Uttlesford village on Tuesday (July 2) evening when homes were evacuated after a car crashed into a garden, hitting a gas main and electricity pole.
Emergency services were called to the scene near a bend on the B184 in Great Easton at about 6.20pm where a 200 metre exclusion zone was put in place around a gas main that had been damaged.
Police, who closed off the road for five hours, said a blue Toyota Yaris was the only vehicle involved in the crash. The driver, an 18-year-old man from Newport, was taken to hospital but his injuries were not serious.
Fire crews from Dunmow and Thaxted were in also attendance and the gas and electricity board called.
National Grid engineer Robbie Gould arrived at the scene at 8pm. He clambered under the crashed vehicle to seal off the gas pipe after firefighters had inflated airbags to lift up the car.
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“We followed standard safety procedures by putting our fireproof suits on and isolating the gas supply,” Mr Gould said. “It was only the second time I’ve had to do something like this in over 20 years.”
Those forced to leave their homes were allowed to return at 11.30pm when the road was re-opened.
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One resident said it was the latest in a string of crashes on the stretch of road.Joe Turnbull, who lives off the Duton Hill bend, yards from where Tuesday’s accident happened, told the Broadcast it was the final straw.
“Residents are sick and tired of this happening. It is an absolute joke,” the 43-year-old said. “We’re fed up of it and are trying to get a petition together for something to be done. This is the fourth time an accident has happened at this site in the past 12 months – there are so many accidents it’s unbelievable”.
Mr Turnbull called for traffic calming measures to be introduced in an attempt to eradicate the problem.
He added: “The county council and parish council don’t want to know. I have to cut my grass out on the verge by the bend and I fear for my life everytime I do it. Not only that, there are schoolchildren who get dropped off by coaches on that bend and they have to walk across the road and back up the hill, hoping there’s no traffic coming.”
Essex county councillor for the area, Simon Walsh, said: “I will look into this because we take road issues very seriously. I’m aware of previous accidents on that stretch of road, which is why speed limit restrictions were brought in. But sometimes it is not necessarily a problem with the road, it is how drivers behave.”