A MAJOR County Durham road has seen its speed limit reduced after a series of serious crashes in previous years - and one fatality last year.

The A167 near Newton Aycliffe, between Aycliffe Village and just north of Central Avenue has seen its limit reduced from 60mph to 50mph.

Last night, the move was welcomed by residents and councillors from the area as they anticipated the reduction would make the road safer.

Carl Robinson, a councillor on Great Aycliffe Town Council, told The Northern Echo: "This is good news. The speed reduction is to be welcomed.

The Northern Echo:

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"It certainly has the ability to hopefully make the road safer than it has been previously.

"There have been numerous incidents on the A167."

The Northern Echo:

The new speed restriction forms part of a wider project involving the installation of Toucan Crossings across the A167 and St Cuthbert’s Way.

And it is part of a package for the wider Great North Cycle Way, which will run from Blyth to Darlington.

During consultations by Durham County Council, only one resident objected - on the basis that the proposed speed limit would increase journey times to and from the A1(M).

Highways chiefs pointed out there is an average daily traffic volume in excess of 14,000 on this stretch of road, adding at the A167/B6443 St Cuthbert’s Way signalised junction there have been seven road traffic accidents in the past five years alone.

The Northern Echo:

A report to the council's Highways Committee added: "This suggests that there is a historic, but persistent issue at this junction, which indicate that speed reduction interventions may be beneficial in potentially reducing collision frequency.

"By introducing a toucan crossing it will effectively act as a desire line linking Aycliffe Village to Newton Aycliffe and Aycliffe Business Park resulting in an increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists crossing at this point.

"National guidance for setting local speed limits advises that mean speeds should be used as an indicator of appropriate speed limits.

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"The current mean speeds are approximately 48mph, indicating that a large volume of vehicles already drive at 50mph or less.

"To that end, this length of A167 has been assessed on a standalone basis, in line with national guidance on setting local speed limits, and it is felt that the appropriate speed limit in this location is 50mph."

Cllr Robinson said he was pushing for a further reduction from 50mph to 40mph from the Durham Road junction to Aycliffe village.

The Northern Echo: The length of the A167 where the new limit appliesThe length of the A167 where the new limit applies

Dave Wafer, Durham County Council’s head of transport and contract services, said: “The 50mph speed limit has been introduced as part of a wider project to enhance walking and cycling infrastructure in the Newton Aycliffe area.

“The limit is one of a number of measures being introduced between Moore Lane, Newton Aycliffe Business Park and Aycliffe Village, to improve connectivity for residents and encourage more sustainable travel. They also form part of a wider Great North Cycle Way which will run from Blyth to Darlington.

“During a consultation on the proposed limit, just one objection was received. It was then approved by our Highways Committee on 7 April.”


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