Residents have launched a campaign to introduce safety measures on an accident-prone County Durham road after several fatalities and serious injuries.

The A181 near Thornley and Cassop has been highlighted as a dangerous area after locals noted crashes and issues connecting onto the 60-mile-an-hour road from small junctions.

The tricky turnoffs into villages have left some drivers fearing a crash every single day.

A petition calling on the county council to improve the road’s safety has received over 500 signatures and Thornley resident Nicky Robinson hopes to work with the authority to introduce new measures.

Online data shows several crashes occurring on the road between Wingate and Durham, including fatalities, over the past 10 years.

And Mr Robinson has now taken the lead on a new campaign after years of no progress.  

“There are several crashes a year on this extremely dangerous road and it is only a matter of time before this increases and more fatalities occur,” he said. “Why should we let this happen or Durham County Council let this happen when it can be avoided.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Several crashes, including some fatal, have recently occurred along the stretch of road near ThornleySeveral crashes, including some fatal, have recently occurred along the stretch of road near Thornley (Image: Stuart Boulton)

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, of the Trimdon and Thornley ward, is a passionate advocate for safety improvements after experiencing the trauma of her own family members being involved in a fatal crash on the A181.

She said: “There’s no price you can put on a life, not at all. Unless you’ve been in that situation and experienced it you can’t imagine the devastation and the effects it has on people’s lives, and hopefully I’m speaking on behalf of all the other people who have been involved in incidents on the road and making sure their voice is being heard.

“We will support them anyway we can to get some attention because it’s a busy road. If people are living in fear of accidents and fatalities I don’t think we can ignore that.”

Councillor Jake Miller is helping engage the wider community with the campaign beyond the online petition. He said: “There might be a low number of crashes and fatalities but one life lost is too many. Anything we can do to push for that change we will do.”

New housing developments in Thornley have led to more traffic in the area, which locals say could contribute to more crashes.

Mr Robinson explained: “The road is a 60-mile-an-hour road, but the way that they've got the junction means there's a lot of hesitation when you go to pull out.

“If you go at the wrong time and if you don't hit it before seven o'clock, you could be sitting there 20-30 minutes waiting to get out of the junction and that's where the hesitation comes in from the drivers trying to pull out.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Nicky Robinson has took the lead on a new campaign after years of no progressNicky Robinson has took the lead on a new campaign after years of no progress (Image: Stuart Boulton)

The campaigners say a new roundabout or traffic light system would control of traffic due to poor visibility but firstly hope to meet with council officers to share their responses.

Durham County Council said it is investigating how to improve safety measures on the road but requires funding to introduce significant changes.

Mark Jackson, head of transport and contract services, said: “In recent years we have made changes to increase the visibility for vehicles exiting this junction following safety concerns.

“While we are unable to make significant structural changes to the A181 without acquiring land and funding, we are investigating what further preventative measures can be put in place to benefit traffic flow in this area.”

Click here to sign the petition

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