Councils consider a new safety plan on the dangerous A420

Vehicles are recovered after the accident on the A420 near Buckland on Sunday

Vehicles are recovered after the accident on the A420 near Buckland on Sunday

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

A PLAN is being drawn up to improve safety on the A420 between Oxford and Swindon, where a driver was killed on Sunday.

Vale of White Horse District Council leader Matthew Barber said an agreement was reached earlier this year to look at improvements.

This is vital as Vale district will get 20,500 new homes by 2031, the Conservative said.

It comes after a Swindon man in his 30s – who has yet to be named – was killed following a collision at about 3.50am on Sunday.

It happened between Buckland Road and the B4508 to Highworth, and involved a car and two lorries.

An inquest that will try to determine the circumstances around his death has yet to take place.

Mr Barber has high hopes for the memorandum of understanding to examine safety signed between Vale, Oxfordshire County Council and Swindon Borough Council.

Parish councils, including Shrivenham and Watchfield, have commissioned their own work on the A420, he said.

He said: “The A420 comes under a huge amount of pressure – it’s a very busy road and has a dangerous record in places.

“As a district council we are pressing the county council about the capacity of the A420.

“There are huge expansion plans east of Swindon and the Vale has housing pressures as well.

“We need to review the whole route, looking at capacity and at particular junctions to see what can be done to improve safety.”

Watchfield Parish Council’s Colin Bell said: “With all the new housing that is being planned now is a good time to do this.”

Data provided by Oxfordshire County Council showed on the two-mile stretch between Buckland Road and the B4508 there were 17 accidents in the past five years before Sunday’s smash.

Of those, 14 were slight, two serious and there was another death in 2012.

Rachael Jackson, 25, of Kidlington, died near Buckland after the van she was driving collided with a lorry on April 4 that year.

An inquest could not determine the exact circumstances of the crash.

For the whole A420 there were 21 fatal collisions involving 22 motorcyclists, drivers and pedestrians between 2002 and 2012, including Ms Jackson.

A week after her death, the same stretch of road was closed for several hours after a blue Toyota Yaris and a white Mitsubishi Canter collided, injuring two people.

In total there were 363 fatal, serious or minor crashes on the A420 between 2002 and 2012.

A county council spokesman said: “The council will be carrying out an investigation with Thames Valley Police to try to determine the cause of the accident.

“The county council will be developing a strategy in the coming months with the Vale council and Swindon Borough Council.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “I do think it’s important to check the safety of the road and there needs to be a safe linking road from Swindon to the Oxford area.”

Comments (17)

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1:00pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Gunslinger says...

This road is dangerous because it has been partly improved in the period up to the 1990's with a long section of dual carriageway which then just runs out.

This route, and the A40 between Oxford and Cheltenham, are major routes which carry a lot of traffic, including HGV's and it is about time they were finished off.
This road is dangerous because it has been partly improved in the period up to the 1990's with a long section of dual carriageway which then just runs out. This route, and the A40 between Oxford and Cheltenham, are major routes which carry a lot of traffic, including HGV's and it is about time they were finished off. Gunslinger
  • Score: 11

1:20pm Fri 11 Apr 14

EMBOX2 says...

About time. My mother was nearly killed on this road in 2007, and now has a multitude of health problems after the crash. Multiple knee replacements, considerable pain, etc.

This road needs to be fixed, and soon.
About time. My mother was nearly killed on this road in 2007, and now has a multitude of health problems after the crash. Multiple knee replacements, considerable pain, etc. This road needs to be fixed, and soon. EMBOX2
  • Score: 3

1:23pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Leyland Tiger says...

It's not the road's fault, it's the drivers who drive 'inappropiately'....

Sure, that road is busy and could do with dualling etc but thousands of other roads are busy too. What do we do? Dual the lot or make 4 lane motorways where there was once a dual carriageway?
Roads are busy, traffic is horrendous so drive accordingly which basically means stick to the speed limits, don't tailgate, don't overtake where it's clearly not safe to do so. All these things I see on a daily basis on the A420 which is a good road to be fair, just the idiots who can't drive...............
....................
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It's not the road's fault, it's the drivers who drive 'inappropiately'.... Sure, that road is busy and could do with dualling etc but thousands of other roads are busy too. What do we do? Dual the lot or make 4 lane motorways where there was once a dual carriageway? Roads are busy, traffic is horrendous so drive accordingly which basically means stick to the speed limits, don't tailgate, don't overtake where it's clearly not safe to do so. All these things I see on a daily basis on the A420 which is a good road to be fair, just the idiots who can't drive............... .................... ............. Leyland Tiger
  • Score: 15

1:29pm Fri 11 Apr 14

OxfordRob says...

I commute this road from Faringdon to Oxford and back during the week and on the whole it is not too bad however the main issue is too many areas people think they can overtake as doing 50 or less is impossible for them. Ideally having it dual carriageway at least up to Faringdon would be good but most likely improbable. The turnings onto the A420 at numerous areas are very dangerous and don't get me started on the roundabout where most people join the A420 from Faringdon. It is so hard due to the traffic from Shrivenham almost speeding up to stop someone getting in. As housing increases this is a major area for improvement. Perhaps traffic lights at the roundabout?
I commute this road from Faringdon to Oxford and back during the week and on the whole it is not too bad however the main issue is too many areas people think they can overtake as doing 50 or less is impossible for them. Ideally having it dual carriageway at least up to Faringdon would be good but most likely improbable. The turnings onto the A420 at numerous areas are very dangerous and don't get me started on the roundabout where most people join the A420 from Faringdon. It is so hard due to the traffic from Shrivenham almost speeding up to stop someone getting in. As housing increases this is a major area for improvement. Perhaps traffic lights at the roundabout? OxfordRob
  • Score: -10

1:31pm Fri 11 Apr 14

OxfordRob says...

One other thing is that at least on the A420 the traffic does move.... Most of the time. I suppose if it were like the A40 from Witney we would have less accidents as that area of Oxfordshire is just a car park. ;)
One other thing is that at least on the A420 the traffic does move.... Most of the time. I suppose if it were like the A40 from Witney we would have less accidents as that area of Oxfordshire is just a car park. ;) OxfordRob
  • Score: 14

1:35pm Fri 11 Apr 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

That road needs dualing all the way to Swindon.. For the traffic it takes it is wholly inadequate in its present form - just like the A34 is wholly inadequate in its present form.

The traffic does move at least unlike the A40 and one of the worse things that could be done on this road is installation of Traffic Lights, Speed measures, 40 mph zones etc as this would increase accidents
That road needs dualing all the way to Swindon.. For the traffic it takes it is wholly inadequate in its present form - just like the A34 is wholly inadequate in its present form. The traffic does move at least unlike the A40 and one of the worse things that could be done on this road is installation of Traffic Lights, Speed measures, 40 mph zones etc as this would increase accidents yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 1

2:11pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Gunslinger says...

The dangerous thing about both the A420 and A40 is that considerable work was done in the past to dual and improve them but all that seemed to stop sometime in the mid 1990's leaving them half finished. Fast dual carriageways suddenly become effectively country lanes or gridlocked commuter routes.

If they are going to used as strategic routes, then either finish them off properly, or ensure that there are properly signposted alternatives and make sure that more through traffic, including HGV's, uses those.
The dangerous thing about both the A420 and A40 is that considerable work was done in the past to dual and improve them but all that seemed to stop sometime in the mid 1990's leaving them half finished. Fast dual carriageways suddenly become effectively country lanes or gridlocked commuter routes. If they are going to used as strategic routes, then either finish them off properly, or ensure that there are properly signposted alternatives and make sure that more through traffic, including HGV's, uses those. Gunslinger
  • Score: 2

2:18pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Sam450 says...

The road need a dual carriageway all the way to Swindon with roundabouts where there are junctions. This will never happen! It will cost to much! There simply isn't enough investment on our roads or any of our infrastructure, so the most likely option is to slow the traffic down even more. It's far cheaper. This then hence means more bottle necks, more road congestion, frustration to the drivers and then accidents. Problem not solved and hasn't gone away.
The road need a dual carriageway all the way to Swindon with roundabouts where there are junctions. This will never happen! It will cost to much! There simply isn't enough investment on our roads or any of our infrastructure, so the most likely option is to slow the traffic down even more. It's far cheaper. This then hence means more bottle necks, more road congestion, frustration to the drivers and then accidents. Problem not solved and hasn't gone away. Sam450
  • Score: 3

2:37pm Fri 11 Apr 14

melyn am byth says...

3:50am on a Sunday morning!
I don't think this is a road safety issue, this is human error.
Commiserations to the deceased's family.
3:50am on a Sunday morning! I don't think this is a road safety issue, this is human error. Commiserations to the deceased's family. melyn am byth
  • Score: 14

3:13pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Ph1l1p says...

This road was suppose to be upgraded to dual carriageway back in the 80's. It was then transferred to Oxfordshire County Council in the nineties as a local road! Oxfordshire County Council, taking it's usual anti car stance, promptly cancelled the dualling and must bear some responsibility for the resultant deaths and injuries. At that time I wrote to protest the decision to the then MP Robert Jackson who showed no interest.
There is plenty of money for infrastructure, for example HS2, and some of it should be spent dualling this road. It should also be returned to national control as a main route, Otherwise the deaths and injuries will continue.
This road was suppose to be upgraded to dual carriageway back in the 80's. It was then transferred to Oxfordshire County Council in the nineties as a local road! Oxfordshire County Council, taking it's usual anti car stance, promptly cancelled the dualling and must bear some responsibility for the resultant deaths and injuries. At that time I wrote to protest the decision to the then MP Robert Jackson who showed no interest. There is plenty of money for infrastructure, for example HS2, and some of it should be spent dualling this road. It should also be returned to national control as a main route, Otherwise the deaths and injuries will continue. Ph1l1p
  • Score: 7

7:22pm Fri 11 Apr 14

dave from witney says...

There is little wrong with the road. 50mph limit in many places. It's trhe fools that take chances that as always cause the problems.
There is little wrong with the road. 50mph limit in many places. It's trhe fools that take chances that as always cause the problems. dave from witney
  • Score: 3

9:45pm Fri 11 Apr 14

The New Private Eye says...

melyn am byth wrote:
3:50am on a Sunday morning!
I don't think this is a road safety issue, this is human error.
Commiserations to the deceased's family.
A very astute observation, you are probably the only one to have read the whole story.
[quote][p][bold]melyn am byth[/bold] wrote: 3:50am on a Sunday morning! I don't think this is a road safety issue, this is human error. Commiserations to the deceased's family.[/p][/quote]A very astute observation, you are probably the only one to have read the whole story. The New Private Eye
  • Score: 2

11:49pm Fri 11 Apr 14

the wizard says...

The A420 known during the 1960's as The Road to Hell, little seems to have changed and as per usual OCC got involved and it all went stagnant. That lot, spend money on roads ? oh please!! do us all a favour. The fact that the A420 and the A40 have been left in the state of under development in which they are both now goes to show just how much imagination OCC really have and their regard for their commuting public. It's a shambles and the likes of Hudspeth are dreamers who come up with wild and wonderful schemes but in reality deliver no new tarmac to ease congestion, and enable free movement of traffic in safety for the better part. Terrific shame their pensions are not performance based on public satisfaction.
The A420 known during the 1960's as The Road to Hell, little seems to have changed and as per usual OCC got involved and it all went stagnant. That lot, spend money on roads ? oh please!! do us all a favour. The fact that the A420 and the A40 have been left in the state of under development in which they are both now goes to show just how much imagination OCC really have and their regard for their commuting public. It's a shambles and the likes of Hudspeth are dreamers who come up with wild and wonderful schemes but in reality deliver no new tarmac to ease congestion, and enable free movement of traffic in safety for the better part. Terrific shame their pensions are not performance based on public satisfaction. the wizard
  • Score: 2

1:28am Sat 12 Apr 14

lillyloo says...

My daughter was driving along there last week when she was meet by a lorry on the wrong side of the road over taking another lorry she had to swerve onto the grass verge to miss a head on ,,,make me wonder how some of these drivers even passed there test ??????
My daughter was driving along there last week when she was meet by a lorry on the wrong side of the road over taking another lorry she had to swerve onto the grass verge to miss a head on ,,,make me wonder how some of these drivers even passed there test ?????? lillyloo
  • Score: -1

6:42pm Sat 12 Apr 14

dmortiboy says...

yet another accident today though on the southmoor turn - come on pull your finger out and get this done - it's not just that spot, the whole road is dangerous - I live on it and having had my neighbour die in a head on and another neighbour shunted from behind - please address the whole road quickly before anyone else is hurt.
yet another accident today though on the southmoor turn - come on pull your finger out and get this done - it's not just that spot, the whole road is dangerous - I live on it and having had my neighbour die in a head on and another neighbour shunted from behind - please address the whole road quickly before anyone else is hurt. dmortiboy
  • Score: 3

1:45am Sun 13 Apr 14

peter273 says...

The logical thing to do would be to make a new section of dual carriageway from Southmoor to Shrivenham. It would start from the existing dual section at Southmoor, go south of Stanford-in-the-Vale
, then between Fernham and Baulking, and then follow the north side of the railway line until it rejoins the existing A420 just past Shrivenham, at Acorn Bridge.

That is a big project, but it would be a proper road for handling the main traffic between Oxford and Swindon. The existing twisty road would be OK to take local traffic to Buckland, Faringdon, Great Coxwell etc.
The logical thing to do would be to make a new section of dual carriageway from Southmoor to Shrivenham. It would start from the existing dual section at Southmoor, go south of Stanford-in-the-Vale , then between Fernham and Baulking, and then follow the north side of the railway line until it rejoins the existing A420 just past Shrivenham, at Acorn Bridge. That is a big project, but it would be a proper road for handling the main traffic between Oxford and Swindon. The existing twisty road would be OK to take local traffic to Buckland, Faringdon, Great Coxwell etc. peter273
  • Score: 4

5:30pm Thu 1 May 14

QueenBee07 says...

I don't think it helps that a different speed limit applies to trucks and cars. Where the speed limit is signed at 60mph, HGV (7.5t) are limited to 40mph.
Even if everyone travels 10mph faster than their limit, these different speed restrictions cause frustration, particularly to car drivers who see the speed limit as a target, and they overtake. With so many villages and residences along the A420, coupled with poor visibility due to a bendy road that was never intended to serve such heavy traffic, accidents will continue to happen.
I don't think it helps that a different speed limit applies to trucks and cars. Where the speed limit is signed at 60mph, HGV (7.5t) are limited to 40mph. Even if everyone travels 10mph faster than their limit, these different speed restrictions cause frustration, particularly to car drivers who see the speed limit as a target, and they overtake. With so many villages and residences along the A420, coupled with poor visibility due to a bendy road that was never intended to serve such heavy traffic, accidents will continue to happen. QueenBee07
  • Score: 4

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