UPDATED: Action needs to be taken to improve road's safety, urges Great Wratting resident
An accident on a narrow and steep village road in which a car flipped on to its roof has prompted a home owner to call for safety improvements ‘before someone gets killed’.
Last Thursday afternoon, the car finished upside down on Thurlow Road in Great Wratting (a main connecting road between Haverhill and Newmarket) after it's driver lost control while coming the hill causing the car to hit the steep bank and flip over.
The driver of the car was travelling at less than the 30mph speed limit on the road, according to eye witnesses.
Fortunately, the man driving the car walked away unscathed, but now Joanna Mahon, who has lived in a cottage close to the bend at the bottom of the hill for more than 30 years has called on the Highways Authority to improve the safety on that stretch of road.
She said: “They do not see at first hand just how dangerous this road is and have turned down requests for a priority scheme or diversion to be installed.
“Neither will they restrict lorries using the road and, of course, there will now be much more traffic on the B1061 with the new housing developments being built in Haverhill.
“Several years ago a vehicle swerved off this road going straight into our neighbours’ sitting room and vehicles have also knocked down another neighbour’s brick wall on the opposite side of the road.
“Clearly, the authorities would rather wait until someone gets killed.”
Mrs Mahon, 66, said it appeared neither driver involved in the accident was breaking the 30mph speed limit but said speed was just part of issue with the road.
“The road is only wide enough to accommodate two normal sized, two metre-wide vehicles passing each other.
“As soon as there is a van or lorry trying to negotiate past a car, one or the other has to give way otherwise it is a recipe for disaster.
“The situation becomes completely ridiculous when two lorries or a coach (this road is on a bus route) and lorry meet each other as all the traffic at the bottom of the hill has to reverse down the road until one of the large vehicles reaches a place where the oncoming one can pass.
“This usually amounts to a 20-30 minute delay for all the drivers caught up in the jam,” said Mrs Mahon.
“It is a real joke and even large vehicles climb the verge to try to pass each other, which is what the driver of the overturned vehicle did.
“However, the very steep verge is rutted with tyre tracks and is extremely soft and muddy at this time of year so there is no purchase for unwitting drivers.
“It is particularly scary when lorries and coaches are using the soft verge to try creep past an oncoming vehicle and the camber is so steep that one of these days we will see a bigger accident occur.”
The cottage in which Mrs Mahon lives with her husband and from where they run their business, Diamond Dogs (UK) Ltd, has been damaged on numerous occasions over the years, she added, resulting in them installing buttresses on their wall to stop the damage.
Even now, she says, a 30mph speed sign is resting in her hedge after an accident earlier this year, while the neighbour directly opposite the church ‘has had his brick wall taken out a couple of times’.
Mrs Mahon added: “I constantly go out in front of my house and collect broken off wing mirrors and broken bits of cars because this is happening all the time.
“The road isn’t adequate for the size of the vehicles that are trying to traverse it.
“When I first moved here I used to walk down the road, no problem.
“Now if i take my dogs out I won’t risk my life walking down that road any more.
“It’s not up to me to try and find a solution. It was only something I suggested to Highways.”
A spokesman for Suffolk Highways said: “Suffolk Highways has been made aware of an incident on Thurlow Road, Great Wratting.
“It’s currently unclear how this occurred.
“We will discuss this incident with the police and local parish council to see if any highway improvements are needed.
“Our records show there have been no recorded road injury accidents on this road in the last decade."
More by this authorSteve Barton