Roadworks staff ‘at risk from danger drivers’

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield City Council
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield City Council
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WORKERS overhauling Sheffield’s roads have been subjected to abuse and put at risk from dangerous drivers, it was revealed yesterday.

In Burngreave, four men surrounded a vehicle belonging to roadworks staff and racially abused the crew inside, while in Parson Cross a worker was hit on the leg by a moving car as a driver entered a coned-off area where roadworks were taking place.

Police, Sheffield Council and highway contractor Amey have now joined forces to urge drivers across Sheffield to slow down around roadworks sites.

Incidents where drivers have sped past roadworks sites, or deliberately driven into cordoned-off areas, are being recorded.

The warning comes at a time when Amey is in the first stages of its 25-year, £2bn ‘Streets Ahead’ contract to improve and maintain Sheffield’s roads.

Chris Morris, Amey account director, said: “The highest risk of injury or death for Amey’s workforce in Sheffield is from traffic passing our sites too fast or without due care.

“All our operatives wear bright yellow when out on site, but it’s not always enough to keep them safe.

“You’d be amazed at how many people drive recklessly past and sometimes even into road work sites where our people are working.

“We’ve seen a recent spate of incidents in which our employees and sub-contractors have been put at unacceptable risk and in some cases this has led to the police being called and roadworks being delayed – and that’s not good news for anyone.”

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for the environment on Sheffield Council, added: “It is vital that drivers respect the people who are out there making these improvements – and that means taking notice of the signs, slowing down and not driving into coned off areas.

“The Streets Ahead project is great news for Sheffield as it is bringing better roads, lights and pavements to our city.

“The huge amount of road work needed means that there will be some diversions and coned areas.

“These improvements will be taking place for the next four years and we all need to play our part in making sure they go ahead safely for both drivers and employees.”

An Amey spokesman said that one incident took place in Wybourn, where a driver “drove into a coned off area because he didn’t want to use the diversion route”.

They added: “When he was told the road was closed for resurfacing he threatened the crew, saying he would ‘be back later to sort you out’. In the Mosborough area a traffic manager was putting signs out on the road when he was verbally abused and threatened because the member of the public wasn’t happy about the position of the signs.”

Chief Inspector Richard Lambert of South Yorkshire Police said: “Roadworks inevitably create delays in the short term but people need to be patient while this essential work is carried out.

“It is entirely unacceptable for motorists to put the safety of these workers at risk.”