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Lorries flout the law on East Lancashire road
MORE than 100 lorries a day are breaking the law by using the Grane Road, say residents and councillors.
There is a 7.5-tonne weight limit on the road which links Blackburn and Haslingden, introduced seven years ago for safety reasons. Now, residents are demanding police action over truck drivers who ignore the weight limit as the road continues to be used as a rat run between the M65 and A56.
There have already been two fatal accidents on the road this year, and one MP said large trucks using the road could lead to people making risky overtaking manoeuvres and accidents.
Dean Audain, 26, said he bought a house near the cemetery in Grane Road six months ago and has been concerned about trucks ever since.
He said: “I have been on and on at the council about these weight restrictions.
“But they told me to ring the police, who told me to ring the Highways Agency, who told me to ring the police or council.
“There are signs up saying there is a restriction but we are still getting these big lorries driving up and down.
“I have stood there and counted more than 100 lorries travelling along the road in a day.
“And these aren’t small lorries, most of them are huge and clearly over the weight limit.”
Mr Audain, who lives with his fiancee Gemma Earley, 26, and three-year-old daughter Millie, said his house shook when wagons passed and claimed his garden wall was already crumbling because of the vibrations.
He said: “It is really annoying. The whole house shakes when they go past.
“The house itself is solid. It is just when these huge trucks go flying along the road. We can feel every vibration going through it.”
Road safety campaigners fought for years to get a weight restriction imposed seven years ago on the road which had become an accident blackspot due to the number of heavy vehicles using it.
Police warned HGV drivers using the road as a cut-through would be prosecuted after the weight restriction was agreed by Lancashire County Council in February 2006.
Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry said the added dangers of trucks using the road could lead to motorists getting killed.
He said: “Truck drivers ignoring the weight limit along what is a very busy stretch of road is extremely dangerous.
“If a motorist was to get stuck behind a lorry and gamble by overtaking, it could potentially result in a fatal accident.
“I urge the police and the council to look into ways the weight limit can be better enforced.”
Haslingden and Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said he would speak to Lancashire County Council.
He said: “It is very difficult. The problem is sat navs which cut the corner and give drivers the quickest route.
“There has been an increase in the number of lorry drivers using the road.
“There needs to be better enforcement of the weight restrictions and I will remind Lancashire County Council of this myself.”
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said: “It is difficult because it is not necessarily a policing priority.
“Of course, if officers were in the area and saw them doing it, we would stop them.”
County councillor David Stansfield, who is also chairman of the Hud Hey and Rising Bridge Residents Group, said something had to be done.
He said: “It is restricted but we just cannot police it as we haven’t got a big enough police force to do it.
“What we need is for signs to be put up at the beginning of the motorway that tell all vehicles there is no way they are allowed to go along the road unless they are tipping in the area.
“There needs to be signs telling them to pick up the A59 and head into Manchester that way.
“I am sick and tired of asking them to do it.
“Why are they coming down Grane Road? There is no need for them to do it.”
Coun Stansfield said the police needed to have a drive on enforcement in the area.
He said: “There are 100 or more truck drivers breaking the law every day and nothing is being done about it.
“But once we get one or two of them caught, then that should send out the message.”
Stuart Haworth, boss of Blackburn hauliers CSH Transport, said he agreed with the weight limit being in place.
He said: “Most trucks are a lot heavier than 7.5-tonnes, with a lot being 18-tonnes and over.
“I wouldn’t be happy if my drivers were going over Grane Road as roads like that weren’t made for huge lorries going over them.”
A Highways Agency spokesman said it would be looking into the issue, but said it was the police’s responsibility to enforce any weight restrictions.
Lancashire County Council declined to comment.
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