Blocked drains could cause another death on skid-risk main roads south of Northampton fear grieving parents

Silted-up drains on two flooding-prone stretches of main road to the south of Northampton are set to be cleared 'in the next few weeks' amid fears heavy rains could cause another fatality.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 12:01 pm
Drains in Towcester Road and along the A508 are in a poor state of repair say Christopher and Nicole Taylor - whose daughter was killed in a car accident in 2008.

Over the past decade, slippery surfaces have caused deaths on the A508 south of Northampton and on Towcester Road on at least four occasions.

In at least two occasions standing water was seen as a contributing factor.

But roads campaigner Nicole and Christopher Taylor, who lost their daughter Beccy when her Peugeot skidded in Towcester Road in 2008, say both stretches are still in such a state of disrepair they will become a deathtrap in the next big downpour.

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Nicole Taylor says the flood-prone stretches could cause a serious accident.

In a recent inspection of the A508, Mr Taylor discovered 40 drains blocked by silt and plant growth in just the two-mile stretch between Roade and Stoke Bruerne.

The Taylors had successfully campaigned for a double gulley - effectively a large drain - to be installed at the lowest point of Towcester Road between Milton Malsor and Blisworth following Beccy's death.

But Mr Taylor says even that important safety measure is now blocked up with silt and dirt.

"If you get a young driver hit a large pool of water, yes it could be dangerous." said Nicole.

"Even an experienced driver will struggle."

Christopher has reported all the blocked drains to Northamptonshire County Council's Street Doctor service.

The county council has responded to the Chron by saying it intends to both clear the gulleys and resurface both the Towcester Road and the stretch of the A508.

But the Taylors, of Colingtrree, say the maintenance cannot come soon enough and they worry that the state of the highways could be just as bad around the county.

The section of A508 was also identified as a serious 'sid risk' by crash investigators way back in 2013. In 2014, 21-year-old Leanne Gower died when the Ford Puma she was travelling in wobbled and skidded into an oncoming car.

Councillor Jason Smithers, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for highways and place, said: “We have a cyclic programme of clearing the 166,000 drainage gullies across the county, including the stretch of road in question.

“This section of highway is also part of this year’s surface dressing carriageway-repair programme and work will be carried out here in the next few weeks.

“As part of the surface dressing works, other highways maintenance jobs are also carried out at the same time to take advantage of the road closure in place. This will include cleansing the gullies in question."