Video recordings of surface water problems following heavy rainfall on the M58 have forced the Highway Agency to finally seek ‘permanent solutions’ to improve drainage on a section of the motorway where fatal accidents happened in 2011 and 2014.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has been working with local residents to secure action from the Highways Agency to tackle the inadequate surface water drainage on the M58 in the vicinity of junction 3 of the motorway in Bickerstaffe.
It is a battle that that has been ongoing following the 2014 car accident.
Until their latest letter to MP Rosie, the Highways Agency had offered constant reassurance that they had fixed the root causes of the surface water problem affecting road safety but having been presented with the video evidence and a further accident in December 2015 on this section of the motorway their position has now shifted.
In response to Rosie Cooper’s concerns the Highways Agency state that they’ve ‘instigated action to ensure that drivers are alerted to the potential for surface water and to establish permanent measures are required to ensure the water drains more effectively.’
In response, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“It is hugely disappointing that it is only now in the face of video evidence and yet another accident that the Highways Agency finally accept that there are still problems with surface water drainage on this section of the M58 where there have been two fatal accidents in the last five years.
“Despite all the reassurances and the costly resurfacing, only now do we get a commitment to ‘permanent measures’ to address the surface water problems. People’s safety is at stake and there can be no half-measures. It’s time to get it right, once and for all! Two fatalities is two too many.
“I would strongly encourage drivers using the westbound carriageway of the M58 to be extremely cautious, especially in wet weather conditions.
“Thankfully the existence of video evidence from December’s extremely heavy rainfall convinced the Highways Agency that surface water on the M58 remained a problem and a safety concern despite their previous reassurances.”
Initially the Highways Agency were guided by a Road Safety Collision Accident Report which indicated that the below ground drainage system was working effectively. The report did recommend a resurfacing of a 600 metre section of the westbound carriageway to improve the run-off surface water.
The resurfacing work was done in January 2015. Rosie along with local residents and Highways Agency officials held a site visit on 17 February 2015 to discuss the ongoing concerns over the safety of the road conditions.
At that time the Highways Agency stated in correspondence to the MP that they were ‘confident that the resurfacing work we have undertaken will significantly reduce the likelihood of vehicles losing control’ and that they had addressed the root cause of these incidents.
The Highways Agency did commit to continue monitoring the situation at this location with a focus on the surface water drainage.
During 2015 the Highways Agency reported that they had visited the location on more than 12 locations following heavy rainfall and had visited on three occasions in 2016.
They stated that ‘none of our visits identified any significant issues with surface water on the carriageway’. This is despite a further accident on this stretch of the motorway in December 2015.