Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
This statement provides an update on the A44 Route Safety Study.
Following the tragic accident on this road this summer, I committed to looking at what could be done to improve safety, particularly between Aberystwyth and Llangurig, which is the highest risk single carriageway road on the trunk road network.
The accidents that have occurred on the route are spread over the entire 40km length with a few clustered at specific sites. Changing the alignment of the road would be extremely difficult and costly due to the surrounding terrain. Therefore, we need to focus on improvements to the existing road.
Action has already been taken to address accident cluster sites at Pantybenny bends, Milestone 15 Bends and Cwmbrwyno Bends. Improved road markings, signing and surface treatments have proved effective at these locations. We will continue to monitor the impact of these measures and consider extending them along the whole route.
The study identified additional cluster sites between Sweet Lamb and Six Sycamores and Allt-y-Gwreiddyn. Further site specific collision investigations and prevention studies will now be undertaken at these locations and any subsequent recommendations implemented.
A review of speed limits is currently underway across the whole of the trunk road network, including the A44. The results are due to be published in January. We will adapt our strategy to take into account the outcome and may implement additional measures to improve safety.
As well as engineering improvements, we also need to use enforcement and education measures. We will be working with our partners and stakeholders on campaigns to promote better road user behaviour.
Dyfed Powys Police are committed to assisting us in reducing casualties through the use of targeted operations focussed on high risk groups and locations. Their campaign, Operation Darwen, which includes the A44, has already been highly successful in targeting the anti-social behaviour of some motorcyclists and carrying out general enforcement where necessary. They have stepped up activity in direct response to the number of road traffic collisions this year, with additional initiatives linked to predicted periods of fine weather.
Dyfed Powys Police will also be using radio next year to broadcast their road safety message. They have already been using social media to reinforce the message of dangerous motorcycling.