Killer Aust lay-by to be closed
Updated 9:19am Thursday 13th March 2014 in News
A KILLER lay-by in South Gloucestershire will be scrapped after funding was approved to close it.
Locals started a campaign and circulated a petition to remove the treacherous lay-by in Aust after a fatal accident in July 2013, when a 20-year-old motorcyclist died after colliding with a school bus on the stretch of the A403.
It followed a similar incident in 2006 when a car pulled out of the lay-by in front of motorcycle, killing another motorcyclist.
Villagers and local politicians have blamed the ill-positioned lay-by and lorries illegally parking in it for reducing visibility as cars and riders come to the bend and join the A403 from the M48 junction roundabout.
Severn Vale Area Fund allocated £24,000 to fund the removal of the deadly lay-by at a meeting held at Turnberries Community Centre in Thornbury on Wednesday night, March 5.
Road safety was last improved along the northern section of the A403 near Aust when the council decided to lower the speed limit to 50mph in 2007 in response to campaigning efforts. The hedge at the back of the lay-by had also been greatly cut back.
Aust Parish Council chairman, Mike Hawkins said the allocation of funding was a positive move.
“The lay-by has been a cause of concern and accidents for some time.
“We have had situations there with trucks parked with their lights on at night, so you can't possibly see. It's misused and unsatisfactory. It’s about time something was done about it.
“There’s a general view that it should be closed because there has been a number of fatalities in recent years.
Severn ward Councillor Matthew Riddle said: “Each day residents have to take great risks pulling out of main road to turn right on to the A403 and have reduced visibility if lorries are parked there.
“Anyone living or working locally who travels along the A403 from the M48 junction roundabout will have witnessed at some stage the reduced visibility when lorries are occupying the lay-by."
“This is a killer lay-by and the campaign has been about getting some action on behalf of local residents who have very real concerns about road safety after this latest fatality.
“I’m delighted that the forum has responded to the strength of local feeling by allocating the funding needed to remove the lay-by.”
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: “At last Wednesday’s Severn Vale Area Forum meeting, decisions were made regarding a number of funding streams, including allocations of Small Grant Revenue funding, Positive Activities Subsidy Grants, New Homes Bonus funds and the Local Transport Capital Programme 2014/15.
“Among items approved as part of the Local Transport Capital Programme, were a scheme to close a lay-by on the A403 at Aust.
“The lay-by closure on the A403 was requested by Aust Parish Council and will be implemented during the next financial year. In the past, the lay-by was used by lorries which needed to pull over so that the driver could telephone ahead before crossing the Severn Bridge. This is no longer required, so the lay-by will be kerbed off. Existing foliage has already been extensively cut back in the area to allow greater visibility when emerging onto the A403 from the village of Aust."
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