CONTROVERSIAL calls for a ‘significant change of attitude’ from West Mercia Police towards road closures following motorway and main road incidents have been made by the county’s highways chief.
Coun Alan Amos made the plea during a meeting at County Hall in response to a question about the impact of possible motorway incidents adding to the congestion along the A38 and roadworks at the Ketch roundabout.
The outspoken county councillor, who also serves as a city councillor in Bedwardine, expressed his frustration at the ‘total and prolonged closure of motorways and other roads by the police’ following incidents on the county’s roads.
“Full closures of the motorway are often very disruptive especially at the moment with the works taking place on Ketch roundabout,” he said.
“Some months ago I raised the matter with the Chief Constable following occasions of total motorway closures and other road closures.
“My concern is once victims and vehicles have been removed from the scene it is unreasonably and unnecessarily disruptive to keep roads closed any longer in order just to do some paper work.
“Are total closures even necessary when one or more lanes on a motorway can be kept open?
“There needs to be a significant change of attitude to ensure traffic is kept moving in every possible circumstance given the enormous economic and personal cost of not doing so.
“I’m not sure what, if any, progress can be made by us as a highway authority unless the travelling public are afforded the priority they deserve,” Coun Amos added.
In response, Chief Inspector Jessica Loxley-Clark said: “We work closely with our partners, including other emergency services and Highways England, with the aim to minimise the impact on road users during incidents on the motorway that may result in a lane or whole carriageway being closed.
“We will always reopen roads as soon as the scene has been investigated and it is safe to do so.
“I would like to thank the public for their patience in these instances, where some people involved can unfortunately sustain serious injuries or even tragically have lost their life.
“Depending on the incident requirements, we may hand over road closures to other agencies who then take the lead to fix and repair any carriageway damage and they will then reopen the carriage way when it is safe to do so,” she added.
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