A329M crash barriers 'saving lives'
January 04, 2011
Crash barriers installed along a stretch of motorway in Wokingham to help protect motorists are “definitely doing their job”, highways bosses have said.
Since spending around £650,000 to have barriers installed along the A329(M) Wokingham Borough Council has said it has not received reports of any accidents where people have been injured.
Barriers were installed along a stretch of the motorway, between its junctions with the Coppid Beach Roundabout and Winnersh Triangle, last spring.
This was just weeks after Paul Payne, 23, from North Yorkshire, was killed on the A329(M) when his car crossed the central reservation and collided with a van in February.
His tragic death sparked a wave of calls from motorists, and Mr Payne’s family, for barriers to be installed along the stretch of the motorway where there was no man-made protection for drivers.
A group calling for barriers set up a page on the internet social networking website Facebook which attracted in excess of 1,500 members.
Wokingham Borough Council decided to go ahead and use its own money to install barriers after twice failing to secure around £4 million from central Government to fund them on both the A329(M) and a stretch of the A33 in Spencers Wood.
Since installing the barriers there have been several accidents where cars have collided with them, however, none have caused any injury to the occupants of the vehicles involved.
Councillor Keith Baker, executive member for highways and transport at the borough council, said the barriers are “absolutely” serving their purpose.
“Clearly the statistics are proving that point,” he said.
“No one can cross the central reservation when an accident occurs as the barriers absorb the speed of the car and deflect it back into the road. There is the chance existing traffic could hit them, but I don’t believe that has happened and the barriers are definitely doing their job.
“I am absolutely in support of anything which saves lives.”
When asked about the relative risks posed by a driver crossing the central reservation and colliding with an oncoming car, or a vehicle hitting a barrier and deflecting back into the flow of traffic, the ward member for Coronation said: “To me, I would class the risk as a lot less since the barriers absorb a lot of the speed.
“A driver would have to be really, really travelling extremely fast to have the barrier absorb the large amount of impact and speed to throw it back across the carriageway.
“I’m not saying it cannot happen but there is a much lower risk then going straight across.”
Cllr Baker said the authority intends to install more crash barriers along the stretch of the A329(M) between Winnersh Triangle and Reading.
However, he said the project has been delayed while railway incursion work is carried out on the stretch of road.