£1m on offer to tackle safety on ‘blackspot’ A285 between Petworth and Chichester

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Funding of £1m has been offered to West Sussex County Council to tackle safety issues on ‘Britain’s most dangerous road’.

The Department for Transport wants to help the county council make the 12-mile stretch of road, between Petworth and Chichester, safer.

In November 2014 the stretch was named the UK’s ‘persistently highest-risk’ road in a survey by the Road Safety Foundation.

And in a new report last week the foundation said it was still Britain’s most dangerous road.

The A285 runs north to south linking the A27 with the A272 and running through the South Downs.

According to the 2014 report it had seen a 16 per cent increase in fatal and serious crashes over time at junctions, running off the road and even head-on collisions.

Safety measures taken so far had not been not enough to tackle the issues, according to the Foundation and ‘more far reaching intervention’ was needed.

Now the government is inviting the county council to bid for a grant – worth up to £1m – for a package of measures to add to previous safety changes.

A county council spokesman said latest figures showed recent improvements to the A285 were having a positive impact on the road’s safety record. Between 2013 and 2015 the number of fatal or serious accidents a year dropped from ten to one – although in 2016 this figure had risen to six.

The county council claims the data used by the Road Safety Foundation in its latest report was: ‘18 months out of date and does not take into account the improvements the county council has made since then.’

The spokesman said improvements since 2011 included sections of high-specification road surfaces, road widening, lowering speed limits, flashing warning signs, improved static signs, changing the ‘no over-taking zone’ at the Duncton straight to a double white line system,·new signs to highlight the bends south of Seaford College and work to emphasise the New Road Junction.

Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Bob Lanzer, said: “The A285 has been a priority for us for many years and we have invested in a high number of safety schemes along the route in question.

“These all help or warn drivers when they approach the more dangerous locations on that stretch of road, and have made a difference in the number of accidents reported.

“We welcome the offer of a grant made by the Department for Transport and we will work closely with them in the New Year to decide how best to use it.”

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