The Wokingham Paper

A329M: police stats show fewer accidents since lane switch

AM morning rush hour

WOKINGHAM’S infamous ‘danger’ motorway is actually safer as a result of the change – but the agency behind the new layout is planning to install cameras later this month.

New figures released by Thames Valley Police reveal that there were fewer accidents on the revamped stretch of road compared to the same period the previous year.

Last autumn, Highways England opened the revamped A329M, which saw the previously two-lane motorway converted into single lane carriages – one for traffic going on to the M4 and the other for ongoing A329M traffic.

Since then, motorists have been outraged at the changes, which has seen increased journey times at rush hours, reports of several near misses and numerous accidents as drivers make last minute lane changes.

However, under the data released The Wokingham Paper as a result of a Freedom of Information request, it appears that the revamped layout is safer.

Between October 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016, Thames Valley Police attended 30 incidents recorded on the A329M.

But data for October 1, 2014 and January 31, 2015 reveals that they attended 33 accidents.

The news has been welcomed by Highways England.

Stuart Miller, spokesperson for the Government agency, said: “Safety is our top priority so we welcome these early indications. We hope that this will remain the same, and we will continue to monitor the situation.

“To that end, we will be installing video cameras for a temporary period starting later in March.”

These new cameras will be installed to help Highways England monitor driver behaviour and traffic volumes on the new road.

The data from Thames Valley Police does come with a caveat.

Our original Freedom of Information request was turned down because it would have taken too long for the police to process.

A spokesperson told The Wokingham Paper: “Information held on our incident reporting system is held in a format that meets operational needs rather than provide statistics.

“There is no way of searching for the stretch of road in question other than manually trawling through all the collisions listed for the time period in question to determine if any of the collisions could be identified as occurring in the appropriate section of highway.

“However, a manual trawl using the two most likely location/beat references has returned the numbers of collisions for the A329M.

“This data cannot be considered as complete because incidents may have been recorded under other location/beat references.”

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