Motorists warned over Saffron Walden ‘danger’ road

An example of a damaged wall on the B1383 between Audley End and Littlebury.

An example of a damaged wall on the B1383 between Audley End and Littlebury. - Credit: Archant

MOTORISTS have been warned to take extra care following a spate of crashes on a “dangerous” road on the outskirts of Saffron Walden.

Resident agent for the Audley End Estate, Tom White, told the Reporter 14 cars had caused damages totalling £45,000 to the flint walls along the B1383 between Audley End and Littlebury since April 2010. There have also been a further three near misses in the past week.

The cost of repairs to the walls, owned by Audley End Estate, has largely been borne by drivers’ insurance companies. But Mr White is concerned a more serious accident may occur if motorists fail to take heed of warnings to slow down.

“It appears to be local drivers who are the most common culprits. As they know the road layout they tend to either drive too fast for the conditions or are not paying attention when they get caught out.

“Although the cars and walls have been left badly smashed up, thankfully people are usually walking away uninjured, so there is a lack of awareness for how serious a situation this is.”

Mr White has now received backing from Saffron Walden Town Council to try and encourage motorists to take more care on the stretch of road, while the district’s highways panel is looking into road safety measures.

Uttlesford District Council cabinet member, Cllr Alastair Walters, the panel’s chairman, admitted there was a problem.

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He said: “It is a busy road and a dangerous one – the proof is there because of the damage to the walls. The problem has been aggravated by the wet and icy weather, along with the possibility of some daft driving, and it is something we are looking at addressing at the moment.”

The possibility of installing vehicle-activated signs to warn drivers of the need to drive carefully through the s-bend is being looked at, according to Cllr Walters, along with “reflective verge marker posts” and addressing the road surface itself.

Essex Highways confirmed the road would be looked at after concerns were raised about whether the surface could have had any impact on the spate of incidents.

A spokesman said: “Essex Highways monitors the number of collisions which occur in order to identify where it may be necessary to introduce road safety measures. We also carry out annual tests to check the skid resistance of roads.

“A recent test to check the skid resistance of the road in question identified some areas of deterioration which may need treatment in the future and will be included in the council’s maintenance programme.”