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Mother who lost son at accident blackspot finally has some answers

Surface water at M58 blackspot is the focus of road safety collision report

Susan Davies with a photo of her beloved son Robert Davies who died after his car came off the M58 at Bickerstaffe

A mother who lost her son in an accident at a motorway blackspot has finally had some answers from the Highways Agency.

On August 11, 2011, Robert Davies, Susan Davies’ only child, came off the carriageway near to junction three of the M58, while travelling back from work in his car – he was aged just 26. Susan described Robert, who was a chef, as a fantastic father to his son Cameron, six.

Tragically, on the day he died, the former St Mary’s College student had been travelling back home to Formby for the first time since he started his new job at the Linthwaite Hotel in the Lakes a few days before.

Describing the accident, Susan said that his Peugeot 308 had spun off the motorway and gone down the embankment back to front and through a picket fence.

The fence went through his window, sheering his seatbelt. His car then rolled, which caused Robert to come out of the vehicle – he was doing under 70mph or less. Robert died of internal injuries.

Since then Susan has been campaigning and asking for more to be done over the accident blackspot in a bid to stop more lives being lost.

She recently received the long awaited road safety collision investigation report into that stretch of motorway conducted by the Highways Agency.

Susan said: “Most of the accidents have been when it is wet and dark, looking at the marker posts they are really close to where Robert died.

“I was looking at the figures and had to keep checking that I was right, there have been so many. It is shocking.”

The report was undertaken in relation to the surface water retention on that part of the carriageway and the prevalence of reported incidents and road traffic collisions.

Findings showed that ‘the continued and repetitive occurrences along this section of the M58 during wet/dark conditions exhibit specific underlying trends associated with the retention of surface water’ – with more than 30 recorded incidents in a five year period.

It recommends that the ‘carriageway be resurfaced across its full width to ensure increased/uniform cross fall to support efficient drainage.’

Susan said: “The report even says that Merseyside Police has, in the past, raised concerns in relation to the repetitive presence of varying levels of surface water in that area.

“I blame the Highways Agency, I think the whole thing is neglect, there are some major failings. If I was not doing this now, things would still not be getting done.

“The report says on average there have been six accidents a year, that is one every two months, that is not ok.

“There are three different surfaces to the road there, it is like a patchwork quilt.

“I am not looking for compensation, I just want them to admit that it is highly likely that the lack of drainage and the road surface caused Robert to go through that fence.

“I just feel angry, Robert was just driving home into that death trap. That is what it boils down to and no-one has done anything about it.

“I still want to see a crash barrier there, that is what I am aiming for now, as well as an acknowledgement in Robert’s memory.”

Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson, is backing Susan and has written to transport secretary, Patrick McGloughlin, to request that more is done.

Mr Esterson said: “My heart goes out to Sue and her family for what happened to her son.

“But there still appears to be a serious danger on a short piece of motorway three years after the tragic accident in which Sue’s son died.

“I have written to the transport secretary asking him for immediate action to make the carriageway as safe as possible and to install barriers where there are ditches to the side.

“It is simply not acceptable that basic safety work has not been carried out on the M58 and I shall continue to press for the work to be done.”