Justin Madders MP has accused the Government of “ignoring the evidence” following new figures showing an increase in the number of accidents on the M56 between junctions 12 and 14.
Mr Madders, who has long campaigned for road safety improvements between junctions 12 and 14 on the M56 which runs through his constituency, asked the Department of Transport to provide figures for the number of reported road accidents where people suffered personal injury, and the severity of the injuries sustained, over the last five years.
The figures reveal that accidents on that stretch of the M56 between Chester and Runcorn, resulted in 3 fatalities, 17 serious injuries and over a hundred (109) slight injuries in the five years from January 2014 with there being an increase in total incidents from 2017 to 2018, the last year for which records are available.
In addition to the tragic loss of life and the impact of sustaining a serious injury on individuals and their families, some of these incidents have inevitably led to the complete or partial closure of this key stretch of road, leaving the surrounding road network unable to cope with the sheer volume of traffic and regularly causing misery for thousands of local residents, businesses and commuters. In particular, the villages of Elton and Ince face real congestion problems as vehicles leave the motorway to avoid the accidents.
Justin Madders said, “Local people regularly raise their concerns about this stretch of road with me and these figures show they are right to be concerned. I’ve been calling on the Government to bring forward safety improvements to this stretch of road since the launch of the ‘Fix the M56’ campaign back in 2015.
At that time, we were told no action would be taken to improve this section of the M56 until 2021 at the earliest. Given that figures show there were 22 accidents resulting in personal injury last year, a rate equivalent to someone sustaining an injury nearly once a fortnight, that is completely unacceptable.
The number of accidents has increased, and they cannot keep ignoring the evidence that urgent action is needed to make the network safer. I shall be writing to the Minister asking them to look at this again!”