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Leysdown and Warden councillor Pat Sandle has secured a debate at the Swale Joint Transportation Board about the safety of the Sheppey Crossing

By Emma Grove

The crash record of the Sheppey Crossing is to be discussed by councillors in the hope of action being taken to improve its safety.

Cllr Pat Sandle (Con), who represents Leydown and Warden, has asked for the debate at the next Swale Joint Transportation Board (JTB) meeting, which will take place at Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, on Monday, September 8, at 5.30pm.

Her request follows the accident on July 1 when 42-year-old Deborah Roberts and her eight-year-old son Marshall died and the 150-vehicle pile-up on the bridge last September.

The scene of the Sheppey Crossing crash
The scene of the Sheppey Crossing crash

The most recent crash prompted several petitions by residents calling for something to be done to prevent further tragedies.

Suggestions have included the introduction of speed cameras, emergency phones, lighting, a hard shoulder and matrix signs which would warn approaching motorists about any congestion, break-down or weather conditions.

Thousands of people have added their names to them.

Another petition calls for the Department for Transport to undertake a full safety review.

Cllr Sandle, a former borough mayor, is asking for changes and says as an immediate safety measure she would like to see the speed limit reduced from 70mph to 50mph and for that to be effectively enforced.

“I have called for this debate because I believe something must to be done to make the bridge safer,” she said.

“Thousands use it every day but it has a terrible safety record.

Cllr Pat Sandle has secured a debate about the safety of the Sheppey Crossing
Cllr Pat Sandle has secured a debate about the safety of the Sheppey Crossing

“We all saw the appalling pictures of the 150-vehicle pile-up last year and will have read with horror recent press reports of the dreadful fatal accident.

“The curve and shape of the bridge restrict visibility while the lack of lighting and lack of a hard shoulder add to the danger. Something must be done.”

JTB chairman, county councillor Tom Gates (Con), agreed to the debate and welcomed it.

He said: “Cllr Sandle has raised a very important issue and it is right that members have an opportunity to discuss and debate what might be done to address safety on the bridge.

“I look forward to the debate when the board next meets in September.”

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