FIX FATAL FLAW ON BRIDGE
Lane confusion risks further deaths, coroner warns:
ACORONER has told the Welsh Government that more people are likely to die unless action is taken over safety concerns about the Britannia Bridge.
Dewi Pritchard Jones said there had been other crashes nearly identical to the one in which a 31-year-old man was killed in August.
It emerged that police had raised concerns with the government over the problems back in January, and safety improvements had been due to start days after pharmaceutical rep Elijah Shotade was killed.
The coroner said it appeared motorists entering the bridge were being led to believe they were still on a dual carriageway.
Mr Shotade, from the Mid- lands, died when his car collided with a lorry on the bridge while travelling westbound.
He had overtaken two vehicles before hitting the HGV on the eastbound carriageway. Coroner Mr Jones said motorists would be unable to take evasive action because of the barriers. And he added he was concerned satellite navigation systems that tell people to bear right could also be playing a part in making people believe they had two lanes to drive in rather than just one.
Mr Jones said Mr Shotade hadn’t returned to his side of the bridge and continued in the eastbound carriageway until he collided with a lorry.
He added: “My investigation, to date, shows that there have been numerous, almost identical, collisions and incidents... (this) would suggest that motorists driving westbound, having been used to driving along the dual carriageway of the A55, enter on to the Britannia Bridge (which is not a dual carriageway) but seem to behave as if the eastbound lane is the offside lane of a dual carriageway.
“The result of this is that they find themselves in the eastbound carriageway of the bridge and, on leaving the bridge, they are unable to turn to their nearside lane due to the presence of barriers. The situation is made worse by many satnavs directing the motorists to ‘bear right’ on leaving the Britannia Bridge.”
The Welsh Government said North Wales Police first highlighted a potential issue last January after two incidents at the end of 2017.
One involved a serious headon crash between a Polish man’s van, which went the wrong side of the central bar- rier, and a car. The second involved a westbound vehicle entering the wrong carriageway apparently because of a sat-nav instruction, although no crash occurred.
Officials said checks showed no pattern of similar collisions recorded in the previous five years. They decided, however, to reinforce safety.
Tragically, work was scheduled to begin in September.
The Welsh Government said work to extend double white lines banning overtaking for the length of the bridge and lane direction arrows had been completed. Sign improvements would follow.
But officials said drivers were responsible for obeying road markings and signs and shouldn’t follow sat-navs if it could endanger others.