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Lincolnshire county councillor brands county ‘forgotten’ when it comes to improvements on A1 in Lincolnshire and Rutland after crashes near Stamford, Grantham and Newark





Pleas to improve dangerous A1 continue as National Highways bosses have been accused of ‘burying their heads in the sand’.

The A1 between Stamford and Newark is regularly blocked by crashes as well as broken down vehicles, obstructions on the road and slow moving traffic.

Last week alone two big crashes have brought the A1 to a standstill, including one lorry smash which shut the road for 21 hours and another two days later which shut the road for nearly six hours.

Recovery of the lorries following the accident involving two lorries on the A1 at Colsterworth. Photo: Miles Green
Recovery of the lorries following the accident involving two lorries on the A1 at Colsterworth. Photo: Miles Green

While roads are usually maintained and upgraded by local councils, the A1 is the responsibility of the Government’s National Highways as it is considered such a major route.

Despite election promises by MPs and pleas from local residents for upgrades, the A1 remains a hotspot for accidents.

The Lincolnshire County Councillor responsible for highways, Richard Davies (Con), is among those campaigning for improvements

County councillor Richard Davies
County councillor Richard Davies

Coun Davies, who is from Grantham, believes ‘it is not a safe road’ and is ‘at a loss’ as to why no improvements have been made.

He said: “We have met with National Highways and pushed with MPs and ministers to no end but they have done almost nothing of note. I don’t understand why.

“Upgrading an old road is not easy, in some ways it is easier to build a new road but they are not even having a conversation.

An accident has blocked the A1 at Colsterworth. Photo: RSM Photography
An accident has blocked the A1 at Colsterworth. Photo: RSM Photography

“To a certain extent I think they are burying their heads in the sand.”

He added: “A feeling a lot of us have is that Lincolnshire is the forgotten corner of the country in many respects.”

Drivers are said to be avoiding the major road and businesses are spending hundreds of pounds on vehicle maintenance due to its poor condition, according to a survey of the A1 by Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) last year.

At least two lorries have been involved in the crash on the A1. Photo: RSM Photography
At least two lorries have been involved in the crash on the A1. Photo: RSM Photography

There have been six fatal crashes on the 35-mile section of A1 between Stamford and Newark between January 2020 and June 2023.

A further 33 incidents involved serious injuries and 107 resulted in minor injuries, as well as many more smaller prangs where drivers and passengers walked away unhurt.

“The accident history is so regular.

Traffic is queuing along the road. Photo: RSM Photography
Traffic is queuing along the road. Photo: RSM Photography

“Yet again today as we speak there is another accident and closure,” said Coun Davies during an interview with LincsOnline on Thursday last week.

“Every fortnight it is closed one way or another for hours.”

He added: “The two big issues are safety and the knock on effect of congestion on local communities.

An article published in October 2019, while Mr Davies was campaigning to become MP for Stamford and Grantham
An article published in October 2019, while Mr Davies was campaigning to become MP for Stamford and Grantham

“Stamford and Grantham whenever there is an accident grind to a halt.”

Although he noted that the A1s connectivity is useful so it should operate in a way which benefits rather than hinders local drivers.

Coun Davies believes that either MPs are being ignored by National Highways - or ‘they aren’t shouting loud enough’.

Rutland MP Alicia Kearns
Rutland MP Alicia Kearns

Alicia Kearns, Conservative MP for Rutland, set up the A1 MPs working group in 2020 to push for improvements to make the road safer.

The group has regular meetings with ministers and a debate in parliament which helped secure safety upgrades at five points along the A1 from the Tinwell junction to the Colsterworth interchange

While she is relieved to see the initial safety upgrades, Mrs Kearns believes more work still needs to be done.

Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies became the Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford on December 12, 2019, having said upgrades to the safety of the A1 in his constituency would be his priority, if he were elected.

However, when asked by LincsOnline earlier this year he refused to directly answer the questions: ‘What did you aim to do to make the A1 safer and what have you managed to do to make the A1 safer?’ He also failed to address what he personally thinks still needs to be done to make the A1 safer and whether there are any particular stretches or accident hotspot areas which need urgent improvement.

Newark MP Robert Jenrick (Con) also declined to directly answer the questions put to him by LincsOnline.

Newark MP Robert Jenrick.
Newark MP Robert Jenrick.

Instead he said: “Improving the safety and efficiency of our roads is a key issue.

“As a frequent user of the A1, I am very aware of the urgent need for significant improvements along this route.”

Since 2019, £4.3 million has been allocated for upgrades to the section between Grantham and Stamford.

The words ‘slow’ could be painted onto the road between Little Ponton and Tickencote as part of planned upgrades by National Highways this year.

The improvements also include changes to existing signs, new warning signs, the installation of road studs at unilluminated locations and junctions, and resurfacing.

We previously asked our LincsOnline readers what would be their top priority to make the A1 safer.

Here are the results

A spokesperson for National Highways said it will not be commenting as its ‘position hasn’t changed’ since last approached for a comment in January of this year.

At the time National Highways programme development manager Ian Doust said: “Safety is our highest priority.

“We constantly review all of our roads and continue to work alongside local stakeholders including the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership to identify issues that require attention.”

What do you think should be done to make the A1 safer? Let us know in the comments.



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