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Call for urgent action to solve problem Norwich junction

PUBLISHED: 11:42 28 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:56 28 January 2014

Chris Riches and Kathi Ritchie have launched a campaign for improvements to lights at the Long John Hill junction with Barrett Road after a series of crashes at the weekend. Photo: Bill Smith

Chris Riches and Kathi Ritchie have launched a campaign for improvements to lights at the Long John Hill junction with Barrett Road after a series of crashes at the weekend. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

A plea has been made for urgent action to improve safety at a Norwich accident blackspot amid fears a child could be injured or worse.

Accident at the ring road junction of Long John Hill and Barrett Road. Picture: Cut Lakenham Accidents Now Accident at the ring road junction of Long John Hill and Barrett Road. Picture: Cut Lakenham Accidents Now

Within hours of two crashes at Long John Hill traffic lights in Lakenham over the weekend, residents had started the group Cut Lakenham Accidents Now on social networking site Facebook, appealing for improvements to prevent a repeat of the collisions, which left a little girl needing treatment for shock and caused significant damage to at least one car.

Kathi Ritchie, 42, who set up the group with her husband Chris Riches, 45, said she wanted warning signs to be erected next to the lights, at the junction with Barrett Road, warning motorists of the danger of a potential accident.

Photos: Second crash on Norwich’s Long John Hill in space of less than 24 hours

Accident at the ring road junction of Long John Hill and Barrett Road. Picture: Cut Lakenham Accidents Now Accident at the ring road junction of Long John Hill and Barrett Road. Picture: Cut Lakenham Accidents Now

Since being opened, more than 230 people have ‘liked’ the Facebook group and photos of the accidents have attracted 1,500 hits.

Mrs Ritchie, who lives with her husband close to the junction in Long John Hill, feared for the safety of children attending the nearby Hewett, Lakenham primary and Cavell primary schools who could be injured in an accident while going to school.

She said: “It is horrible because you hear the crash and look out and sure enough there has been an accident. It has become almost routine now.

“The girl looked quite shaken up, she looked so frightened and I thought that could have been my son. My son has written to Simon Wright MP to ask him to look at this junction. Something needs to be done.”

She said the main problem was traffic coming from the County Hall direction in Barrett Road which needed to turn right at the lights to get in to Long John Hill.

Motorists performing this maneouvre were often unaware vehicles coming down Barrett Road from the opposite direction and carrying straight on were not being stopped by the lights, creating the risk of collision as the car turning right crossed in front.

Mrs Ritchie, who also lives with son Reuben Ritchie, 13 and step-children Heydon Riches, 10 and Jack Riches, 12, added the situation was made more confusing by the fact that drivers coming down Barrett Road who wanted to turn right were being stopped at the lights, making it hard to tell which vehicles were still coming and which were stopping.

On Saturday, emergency services were first called to deal with a two vehicle crash in Long John Hill just after 4.30pm that blocked the road near the junction with Huxley Road.

Then on Sunday, firefighters, police and an ambulance were called to a two car crash at the junction with Barrett Road just after 1.30pm.

Norfolk County Council spokesman John Birchall said in the last three years there had been three slight injury accidents involving traffic coming down the hill on Barrett Road and ‘right turners’ in to Long John Hill.

He added: “This accident record is not particularly high, but in the light of recent incidents we are going to investigate further.

“In the first instance, Siemens, our traffic lights contractor, will check the alignment of signal heads and to ensure the operation of the signals is as it should be.”

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