VIDEO: Fatality fears at city’s accident blackspot

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A Lancaster shop owner says he fears a fatality following a string of accidents at a busy road junction.

Bob Whitehead, who runs Fireplace Warehouse in Owen Road, has witnessed four accidents in the last two weeks on the stretch of road outside his shop.

Owner of Fireplace Warehouse, Bob Whitehead,  outside his shop where there have been four accidents in the last week

Owner of Fireplace Warehouse, Bob Whitehead, outside his shop where there have been four accidents in the last week

All four have involved large HGVs changing lanes to travel north across Skerton Bridge to Caton Road and the M6.

And Mr Whitehead, who has seen numerous near misses in his three years at the premises, said he fears worse is to come if the junction isn’t made safer.

“Four cars have been written off in the last fortnight,” he said.“They have all been hit by articulated lorries changing lanes, usually from right to left, right outside my shop.

“It’s usually smaller cars that the lorries struggle to see and they are just cutting in and either spinning the cars around or scraping down the side of them.”

In Monday’s accident, a woman and two young children had a lucky escape as their car was written off by an HGV slamming into it as it changed lanes.

“I am honestly wondering when there will be a fatality,” Mr Whitehead said.

“The lorries push the cars towards the bridge and I am just waiting for something nasty to happen.”

Mr Whitehead said he believed speed cameras and a 20mph limit leading to the bridge were the way forward.

“I believe the lorries are usually going too fast and they just don’t see the cars,” he said.

“Every other day I hear tooting and screeching from near misses.

“It’s a definite blackspot.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said work is currently under way to introduce a new £220,000 scheme at the junction, in a bid to cut the number of accidents. This should be completed by mid-October.

There are currently temporary lights in the left hand lane while work is carried out.

This follows an accident investigation report finding that the majority of accidents were caused by weaving traffic, especially vehicles moving from the offside to the nearside lane on the approach to Skerton Bridge.

The situation is particularly difficult for HGVs where vehicles in the nearside lane may be in the driver’s blind spot.

A range of options were proposed, with a preferred option seeking to improve the traffic signal junction by increasing the number of lanes approaching the junction from one to two, directing traffic approaching the signals into the appropriate lanes and changing the signals to allow only traffic on the A6 or the A589 through the junction at any one time.

This would significantly reduce the need for traffic to change lanes on the approach to Skerton Bridge.