Fatal crash road redesign 'unlikely' to prevent future crashes

Natasha Poore died in a crash on the A361 in Frome
-Credit: (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)


Making changes to the layout of a key road near Frome is "unlikely to be successful" in preventing future deaths or injuries, Somerset Council has claimed. The A361 Frome bypass, which lies at the eastern edge of the town, has been the scene of three deaths in the last ten months - the most recent being 25-year-old Natasha Poore on the evening on April 8.

Somerton and Frome MP Sarah Dyke has met with senior figures from Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset Constabulary to discuss how future deaths and injuries can be prevented, including potential improvements to the road. The council has now stated that any engineering work on the road is unlikely to reduce the number of deaths or injuries - though it will continue to analyse the collision data before any final decision is taken.

The Frome bypass is one of the busiest roads in Somerset, carrying traffic from in and around Frome as well as lorries from the numerous quarries to the west and serving as a main link to the neighbouring town of Trowbridge. The road may have to handle additional traffic in the coming years in light of the existing housing growth at the southern edge of Frome and the proposed Selwood Garden Community of an additional 1,700 new homes.

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A council spokesman said: "Following the four tragic incidents which have led to the deaths of five people in road collisions on the Frome bypass since 2019, we have worked with the police to understand the circumstances and what might be done to reduce the likelihood of such events happening again. The detailed assessment of the data highlights that the circumstances of the collisions tend to show that road user behaviour is a key element of why the collisions have been occurring.

"We are aware that investigations are ongoing especially into the most recent collision, and the outcome of these will inform future assessments. At this stage, the evidence we have suggests that road safety engineering is unlikely to be successful in reducing the future chances of further similar collisions happening on the bypass.

"We are, however, analysing the collision data, including that from the latest tragic incident at the A361/A362 junction, to understand why the cluster of collisions here have occurred. This will then allow us to develop plans to improve the junction within a future road safety engineering scheme.

"We are also being supported by the police in carrying out enforcement along the bypass to help change road user behaviours that contribute to collisions happening."

Away from the junction itself, the Frome Missing Links project has been looking at delivering a safe active travel route from the Edmund Park estate under the road and railway line, linking up with national cycle network route 24 towards Longleat.

Natasha Poore died in a crash on the A361 in Frome
Natasha Poore died in a crash on the A361 in Frome -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police

Ms Dyke is standing for the Liberal Democrats in the upcoming general election, contesting the Glastonbury and Somerton constituency (which does not include Frome). Speaking on Wednesday (May 22), shortly before the election was called, she said: "While I’m reassured that the council is taking the issue of road safety seriously, I believe that more can be done.

"I’ll continue pushing the council to take proactive steps to reduce deaths and serious injuries and will use every opportunity to raise the issue of road safety in parliament [if re-elected].

"The Frome bypass is one of several collision hotspots in our county and I’m committed to ensuring safety improves across the whole of Somerset’s road network."