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Nine people have died in six years along A17 accident hotspot running through Swineshead, Sutterton, Holbeach Gedney, Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge





A stretch of road which has seen nine fatalities in six years is coming under scrutiny by the team tasked with improving road safety in Lincolnshire.

More than 180 collisions have taken place on the A17 between Swineshead and Sutton Bridge in this period of time, with a number of them tragically seeing people lose their lives.

This part of the busy A-road saw three incidents take place within a matter of days recently.

Stats show the number of crashes and fatalities along the A17 in South Holland
Stats show the number of crashes and fatalities along the A17 in South Holland

Last month a man in his 80s died following a crash at Gedney and a lorry and car were involved in a crash at Holbeach. January began with the road being shut at Algarkirk to allow a crane to rescue an overturned lorry.

The Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership – which aims to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads – says it is looking at ways of improving safety on the road.

“The A17 is one of the most heavily used roads in Lincolnshire and carries a considerable proportion of heavy goods vehicles as Lincolnshire’s agricultural produce is distributed nationally for consumption,” a statement explained.

The A17 at Sutterton roundabout. Photo: Google
The A17 at Sutterton roundabout. Photo: Google

“The road has a seen a high number of collisions over the past five years and consequently has come under the scrutiny of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership.

“There is a mixture of static, mobile and average speed enforcement equipment in use on this road to encourage compliance with the speed limits and remind drivers of the need for caution.”

Data from 2023, which excluded December’s stats and the three aforementioned incidents, showed there had been 31 collisions in the 334-day period – one fatal, five serious and 25 slight.

The A17 near Long Sutton. Photo: Google
The A17 near Long Sutton. Photo: Google

There were 33 collisions in 2022 (one fatal, six serious and 26 slight) and 27 in 2021 (one fatal, seven serious and 18 slight).

Further statistics showed there were 34 collisions in in 2020 (two fatal, nine serious and 23 slight), 29 in 2019 (two fatal, six serious and 21 slight) and 28 in 2018 (one fatal, three serious and 24 slight).

Coun Peter Coupland, who represents Holbeach Rural on Lincolnshire County Council says there have been ‘too many’ incidents on this stretch of road.

There have been nine fatalities in six years on the A17. Photo: Google
There have been nine fatalities in six years on the A17. Photo: Google

“There are so many junctions between Holbeach and Gedney, so you’ve got so many people’s minds computing when to pull out and what to do, when to turn in a short space of time,” he said.

“A lot of it is probably human error that’s caused by junctions and slowing down. We’ve got two or three areas where traffic pauses and slows down, and three farm cafes, it’s just computing everything. Often there’s too much to do.

“If you’re coming out of Gedney village and want to get across the A17 there are two lanes of traffic on each side you have to think about.”

Crossing the A17 at Gedney means navigating four lanes of traffic. Photo: Google
Crossing the A17 at Gedney means navigating four lanes of traffic. Photo: Google

Coun Coupland, whose patch includes the A17 from east of Holbeach to Long Sutton, added that increased volumes of traffic could play its part in the number of collisions.

“More and more vehicles are travelling on the A17 every year,” he added.

“If people are there for a long time (at a junction) they can get frustrated. Most people with settled minds would probably wait, but life is fast today and you get a bit of impatience.

Coun Peter Coupland
Coun Peter Coupland

“From Norfolk to Nottingham, people will come through here which is the main trunk road off Newark and you’ll get a lot of people who don’t know the roads.

“But it’s not just people from out of the area who have been involved. Of course, if someone makes a mistake it can involve two or three other vehicles, whether they’re from 100 miles away or just down the road.”

The LRSP statement called on motorists to remain cautious when using the many junctions along the stretch of road, adding: “A number of the collisions take place at junctions along the entirety of the A17 and therefore drivers need to exercise the requisite caution when approaching or utilising junctions, being aware of changes to the direction of traffic or its speed.”

The A17 is coming under scrutiny by the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership. Photo: Google
The A17 is coming under scrutiny by the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership. Photo: Google

Coun Tracey Carter, who represents Holbeach on Lincolnshire County Council and sits on the LRSP board, said: “It needs looking at, they are quite high numbers.

“There is a limit sometimes to what safety elements can be improved on the roads, some is down to user error.

“But I know the Lincs Road Safety Partnership are looking at improvements and I’m fighting for that as well and encouraging it to be looked at as quickly as possible, and for any interventions that can be done to be done as quickly as possible.”

Coun Tracey Carter
Coun Tracey Carter

Coun Carter highlighted Peppermint Roundabout - which has linked the A17 with Holbeach via the A151 since its construction in 2017 - as an important improvement to road safety.

“it’s has drastically helped because people are using that much more. As an individual, I did not use that junction and turn right before that roundabout was there.

“I came though Holbeach instead as it’s not a junction I felt using safe on a busy, fast road.

Peppermint Roundabout west of Holbeach. Photo: Google
Peppermint Roundabout west of Holbeach. Photo: Google

“We have looked at the junction near University Academy Holbeach, and whether we should be encouraging parents to turn left and go up to the roundabout.

“The minute there’s a safety issue, that’s where the Lincs Road Safety Partnership are fabulous at looking into things.”

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The LRSP added it continues to look for ways to improve safety along the stretch of road.

“Lincolnshire County Council Highways has undertaken recent work on the A17 to improve the condition of the road surface, layout and road markings and they continue to monitor the road for any other actions they may take,” the statement added.

The A17 has been flagged as a cause for concern
The A17 has been flagged as a cause for concern

“It is too early to comment on any themes from the recent spate of collisions east of Swineshead which remain under investigation, but the LRSP, which includes County Council Highways representatives, continue to review the collision data and outcomes of investigations for any engineering possibilities or other targeted actions that may be taken to improve the safety of all road users.”

What do you think? How could the A17 be made safer? Post your thoughts in the comments below



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