Lifesaving A361 road safety project earns royal recognition

The Safer Roads Fund programme has won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its work with Oxfordshire County Council and the Road Safety Foundation to improve conditions on the A361 between Banbury and Chipping Norton.

The road was previously classed as one of the 50 most dangerous A road sections in the UK by the International Road Assessment Programme. In response, the county council carried out the £5.1 million A361 Safety Improvements Project with funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).

Work on a wide range of safety improvements for the 16km stretch were completed last year, including the installation of a new Toucan crossing, and a glowing 2.5 metre-wide, 2000 metre-long, shared use path.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “We were pleased to be involved in this important lifesaving project and are delighted that all the hard work has been recognised with this award.”

The project consisted of:

  • Carriageway resurfacing to improve skid resistance.
  • Surface water drainage improvements to prevent overflowing.
  • Footway improvements including conversion to a shared use pedestrians/cycleway to allow safe off-road cycling.
  • Vegetation clearance to improve visibility, especially at bends.
  • Conversion of an existing Pelican crossing to Toucan to allow safe connection between Ell’s Lane and Bloxham’s Warriner School.
  • Reduction in speed limits from 50mph to 40mph between Banbury and Wykham Lane and from 60mph to 50pmh in southern sections.
  • Road markings and signage improvements, including yellow backed and raised signs for better visibility, and introduction of road studs on all bends to better guide motorists at night.

The £100 million Safer Roads Fund was established by the DfT following a successful programme delivered by the Road Safety Foundation and commissioned and financially supported by the RAC Foundation. The Safer Roads Fund programme focused on treating the 50 highest risk local A road sections in England with remedial road safety engineering interventions.

His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, Executive Director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “I was delighted when the government announced the Safer Roads Fund. The importance of sound investment at local level will provide many long-overdue improvements, not just in the 50 most dangerous stretches of A roads in England, but elsewhere too.”

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “I am delighted our Safer Roads Fund has been recognised for its lifesaving work. It was designed to prevent thousands of tragedies on our roads, and the department will continue to work tirelessly on this priority as we move forward.”

Dr Suzy Charman, Executive Director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “We are delighted that the DfT’s investment in the Safer Roads Fund is recognised with this award. We share this award with the RAC Foundation whose initial support allowed us to undertake the pathfinder project that was a catalyst to the Safer Roads Fund and, of course, we also share the award with our local authority partners who worked hard to design and implement their schemes.”

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