Nik Butler: How many more lives must be lost on A24?

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

We need to talk about the A24. In the thirty years I have lived in Horsham I cannot think of a year where loss, injury or death, has not occurred on its stretch.

From Worthing to Dorking this winding carriageway has become its own urban tale. So much so that I find other routes to avoid it.

I doubt any of us would have to go far in our social circles to discover a connection with a vehicle accident along the A24.

Yet it is testament to our need for car ownership and self driven liberties that we turn a blind eye to the personal costs paid by others.

Many have been the debates as to the cause of those accidents; however none of them robustly satisfy the public need to continue to exercise their own right to drive according to their own experiences.

Indeed no matter how clearly understood Newton’s second law may be for many a physics student, it is all for nothing from an observer’s point of view if accidents never occur within their own daily commute.

So it is that month to month, and year to year, we return to the topic of the A24. The ever repeated question ‘when will something be done about this road?’

What then of the emergency services? How much further can we stretch their response times? Distributed as they now are to answer calls county wide. With Fire services being ‘reorganised’ to match the 21st Century and the district still experiencing its share of poorly located hospitals what is the distance we can expect help to travel before it arrives at the scene.

The certain prospect of additional housing, the incoming spread of airports no matter where they are built, leave one with the abiding sense that it would be easier to win the lottery than to survive driving along the A24 in the coming decade.

Let us not be fooled into thinking that widening, or modernising, the road would improve those statistics, evidence to the south of Horsham would show this not to be the case.

What then are we left with? As there appears to be no passion or willpower to deliver anything approaching a sensible answer to reduce the cost to the public.

Whose life will have to be lost before individuals and authorities alike decide that we can no longer stomach the cost of this carriageway.