Councillor urging better safety along school road

A COUNCILLOR wants safety improvements to protect schoolchildren using a footpath along East Yorkshire's busiest road.

Coun Julie Abraham is concerned about dangers to pedestrians using a route along the A63 outside the East Riding's second biggest school, South Hunsley.

The path is used by scores of children from villages to the south of the school, which is attended by almost 2,000 pupils.

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Coun Abraham will ask East Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby whether there has been any progress on plans to address the issue when the council meets next Wednesday.

She said: "This issue was raised by South Hunsley School and myself some years ago now but because the road is maintained by the Highways Agency there seems to have been a difficulty in reaching agreement between the agency and the council over a safe alternative route, or the installation of protective barriers. It seems ironic to me that when an accident occurs that takes out a piece of the central barrier, carriageways have to remain closed to traffic until repairs have been made on the off chance that a vehicle should cross through into oncoming traffic.

"Yet on a twice-daily basis we are seeing around 100 students walking or cycling alongside this road with no protection at all."

The agency is reluctant to install barriers between the path and the road as it would prevent motorists getting off the carriageway in the event of an accident or breakdown.

A spokeswoman said: "The Highways Agency has carried out extensive studies into options to improve safety on the footpath.

"These have shown that a pedestrian guard rail can create additional safety problems for road users and cyclists and there is currently no funding available for such a scheme.

"An audit carried out by an independent team has confirmed that diverting the existing facility would be the safest option, directing pedestrians and cyclists onto the existing safer route through Welton."

She added: "The Highways Agency has consulted East Riding Council regarding the closure of the A63 footpath, however the council has raised concerns about this option.

"The agency will continue to work with the council to seek to address these concerns."