MORE deaths will occur on the A556 by Sandiway if urgent action is not taken to make the road safer.

That was the stark warning given to Cheshire West and Chester Council after an investigation into the death of a motorcyclist on the A556 Chester Road revealed serious safety flaws to the stretch of road.

Father-of-two Bill Hignett, pictured, from Norley, was riding his motorbike on the Manchester-bound carriageway on October 3, 2017, when he crashed into a HGV which was turning in the road.

The 66-year-old died at the scene as a result of his injuries and the 25-year-old HGV driver was charged with causing death by dangerous driving – but was later acquitted at trial.

Following the trial closure, senior coroner for Cheshire, Alan Moore, has now recommenced his investigation into the cause of Mr Hignett’s death.

Northwich Guardian:

Father-of-two Bill Hignett, 66, died in a crash on the A556 in 2017

Taking into account comments made by the trial judge and evidence gathered by the Crown Prosecution Service, Mr Moore has now publicly highlighted grave concerns over the stretch of the A556.

The coroner has written to Cheshire West and Chester Council to say that action must be taken urgently to prevent further deaths.

Mr Moore said: “During the course of the investigation my inquiries revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken. In the circumstances it is my statutory duty to report to you.

“In my opinion urgent action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe your organisation has the power to take such action.”

Mr Moore’s concerns relate to the configuration and positioning of the junction; the street lighting at the scene; the surrounding vegetation, which may have affected visibility; and the current applicable speed limit.

Detailing the circumstances of the fatal crash in 2017, Mr Moore explained that the crash occurred in the hours of darkness on an unlit stretch of road where the speed limit is 70mph. The HGV driver was attempting to perform a U-turn from the Chester-bound carriageway onto the Manchester-bound carriageway where a filter lane and gap in the central reservation appears near to Sandiway Golf Club.

As his vehicle was too long to turn in one fluid manoeuvre, it was while he was shunting backward and forward that Mr Hignett collided with the HGV.

Mr Moore concluded: “The nearside of the HGV was illuminated by three orange ‘marker lights’. While fully compliant with law, in turning where it did, and with the illumination on the side of the HGV, the combination of the turn and the dark national speed limit road are relevant factors.”

Councillor Karen Shore, the council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for environment, highways and strategic transport, told the Guardian that the council is prepared to take action where necessary.

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Cllr Shore said: “Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Hignett, who was involved in the incident on the A556 in Sandiway on October 3, 2017. We have received the coroner’s report, and working with Cheshire Police, the council will take appropriate action where necessary.

“We regularly monitor collision history across our highway network and will continue to make improvements to improve road safety for all highway users.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council now has until Friday to respond to the coroner, detailing what action will be taken.