'It feels like we're waiting for a fatality' - calls for action at 'death junction' near Kettering villages
and live on Freeview channel 276
Villagers say they fear it’s a matter of time before someone dies unless action is taken at Kettering’s ‘most dangerous rural junction’.
Multiple accidents have taken place at the crossroads between Broughton and Pytchley, with at least three in the past three weeks alone, and debris is currently strewn across a nearby field.
Those who live nearby say something has to be done urgently – ranging from removing hedges to altering the junction layout – before there is a fatal crash.
Broughton resident Laura Staniscia knows more about the impact accidents at the crossroads can have on a family than most. Her husband was hit there about 10 years ago and had to be airlifted to hospital with three breaks in his pelvis, while her sister was involved in a crash last month and suffered nerve damage and shock.
She said: "Barely a week passes without a crash there. To my generation it's death junction.
"I feel like everyone is just waiting for a fatality. There's going to be one if this keeps going on."
A number of accidents are understood to have involved motorists, often coming from the direction of Pytchley, who have gone straight over the junction without giving way and careered into vehicles travelling from Broughton or Orlingbury.
Speed restrictions, rumble strips, give way signs and road markings warning motorists to slow down have all been introduced but the accidents keep on happening.
Martin Rose, from Broughton Parish Council, said someone in the village suffered life-changing injuries in a crash there.
He thinks it would help if hedges were removed to improve the visibility of other cars coming.
He said: "At the approach from any side you simply cannot see the traffic coming from another direction. Some cars are not even slowing down."
Part of the problem in gaining a full understanding of the issue, councillors say, is difficulties in producing accurate records of the number of incidents there.
The website CrashMap.co.uk shows more than two dozen crashes in the past 20 years, including a number of serious collisions. Locals say they know there have been many more but that it’s anecdotal.
Parish councillor Hilary Bull said the authorities need the full picture – including speeds, direction of travel and more – to fully understand how to tackle the problem.
She added: "I would like a 'danger' warning on the road like there was on the A43 saying it's a red route. There's nothing to indicate that this a crash site."
Three recent incidents there have thankfully not left anybody fatally hurt. On October 24 at 8.25am a truck and a car collided and both drivers were taken to Kettering General Hospital. Then, at about 6pm on November 4, two cars were involved in a collision.
On November 9, at about 5.25pm, a Ford and a BMW were involved in a crash and both drivers were taken to hospital but did not suffer life-threatening or life-changing injuries. One driver had to be cut from their vehicle by fire crews.
Laura has been appealing for information about accidents at the crossroads online. She has already been contacted by more than a dozen people.
Patricia Scouse, chair of Broughton Parish Council, said: "I think visibility is a big key to this because nobody can quite understand why people do not stop.
"Evidence is everything and we need the irreputable facts and figures. Until road safety teams can fully understand what is happening at the junction, I don't think we can solve the problem."
Parish council vice-chair Robin Shrive said they hope to put a speed indicator device on the road from Pytchley to record motorists’ speed approaching the junction. Traffic surveys by police, carried out nearby in the summer, found that anywhere between 29 and 59 per cent of motorists were exceeding the 40mph limit depending on their direction of travel.
Cllr Shrive said: "I'm nearly 60 and there's been accidents there all my life, but maybe one a year previously.
"It’s not a new problem but one that has got much, much worse in the last three years."
Those from Broughton Parish Council say the ultimate solution would be to turn the crossroads into a staggered junction – but they appreciate it would be costly.
Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, who lives just a couple of miles from the junction, joined calls for urgent action.
He said: "As someone who lives in Great Cransley I use this junction on a really frequent basis and know all too well how dangerous it is.
"It must be one of the most dangerous rural junctions in Kettering. The problem is, as I see it, that there are only give way signs at the junction and I think it needs a stop sign.
"The speed limit on the through road is 40mph and I think there is a strong case to reduce that to 30mph. Far too many accidents happen and the sight lines are not good. I would encourage North Northamptonshire Council, as the local highways authority, to see what more it can do urgently because this does need to be addressed."
A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: “Working alongside our partners at the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, we regularly review collision hotspots across the county and those designated as part of a red route will have a thorough engineering review conducted.
“As a partnership, our priority is to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads, and therefore we support any additional safety work identified at hotspot locations such as this.”
Cllr Matt Binley, North Northamptonshire Council’s executive member for highways, travel and assets, said they are working to monitor the site to see what can be done.
He said: “We are aware of the issues with the junction and will be arranging a meeting with Broughton Parish Council about what potential solutions could be considered.
“There have already been a number of highways safety measures introduced at the junction including a 40mph speed limit on approaches, advanced high visibility ‘slow’ markings on junction approaches, advanced give way signs on high visibility yellow surrounds on approaches, rumble strips on road surfaces and vehicle activated warning signs.
“We are also working with our road safety team to monitor the site to see what maintenance can be done on current measures – such as trimming vegetation – to further reduce the risk of accidents.
“As ever, we would also remind all motorists to drive safely and in accordance with the weather conditions.”
For Laura, who has already seen first-hand how lethal the crossroads can be, the work cannot come soon enough.
She said: "Every time I go through the junction it's terrifying."
- Broughton Parish Council have asked anyone who has information about an accident there to contact them, including the date of the collision, direction of travel for those involved and dash-cam footage if possible. Those who wish to do so should email [email protected].