COUNCIL chiefs have agreed to bring forward a safety probe on Worcester's controversial Ketch island - after a Facebook video lampooning it as an accident waiting to happen was viewed a staggering 68,000 times.

Councillor Tom Wells has now started a petition which has been signed by 950 people so far after he used social media to highlight his concerns over the roundabout.

A video he posted on Facebook on Tuesday night has now clocked up more than 68,100 hits, which shows drivers slamming on their brakes awkwardly when attempting to exit the island onto Carrington Bridge as two lanes merge into one.

Worcestershire County Council was going to review the changes from a safety perspective some time over the summer, but has now told Councillor Wells it will be looked at imminently.

The Ketch has already claimed its first accident after a tractor carrying hay bales overturned at the Carrington Bridge exit just after 10am on Tuesday, partially blocking the road, although the driver escaped unhurt.

Councillor Wells said: "The council had told me it'd do a safety audit as a matter of routine over the summer, but has now agreed to do it straightaway.

"It's a useful step forward, but that in itself is useless unless the council readily accepts the vast amount of public concern and is actually prepared to change the traffic management of the island.

"It will not be sufficient to do what they've done at the Whittington island, for example, and just tinker around the edges.

"This needs a serous, full, robust change and it needs to happen quickly.

"I believe we're going to see some very serious head-on accidents involving cars travelling from Powick across the river bridge and vehicles coming the other way which can't get into the single lane in time."

The Ketch island has been enlarged to nearly twice its previous size in an £8 million revamp which has taken 12 months to complete.

Anyone using it to exit onto the Carrington Bridge will follow two lanes of traffic which immediately merges into one as soon as they go around the corner.

The video has resulted in reams of critical comments from drivers, many of whom are calling it "ridiculously designed".

A county council spokesman said: "We are bringing forward the next stage of the road safety audit at the Ketch roundabout, which was due to take place at the end of June.

"The next stage audit involves a number of parties and the completion date is to be confirmed."


WORCESTER News readers have criticised the A4440 Southern Link Road changes, saying they are not happy with both main traffic islands.

As we revealed yesterday, as well as the furore over the Ketch roundabout the Whittington island by Junction 7 of the M5 now finally has its new slip-road surfacing designed to make it safer.

The sandy-brown slip road has anti-skid surfacing, which led to fresh criticism from highways campaigner Lisa Ventura yesterday, who says it does not go far enough.

Worcester News website reader Andy Aparche wrote: "I remember many years ago my driving instructor saying to me 'it's all well and good saying 'I had the right of way' from a hospital bed'.

"I'm quite incredulous having watched the video that the highways people didn't see this coming.

"I'm absolutely stunned."

New Kid on the Block wrote: "If the council feel that an anti-skid surface is necessary it means they are admitting that people will be needing to brake very hard, i.e. there is a problem."

A fellow poster called Callum Down wrote: "Yesterday was my first experience of the new layout at the ketch roundabout and even before exiting over Carrington bridge I could foresee the potential problem of two into one at that exit because of the stupid lane markings leading into it from the Whittington direction - and there it was, an instant disaster area."

And a reader called Letterman wrote: "Even the magic roundabout in Swindon is a doddle and safer to use in comparison for crying out loud."

On the Whittington island, the council says measures to make it safer, including additional markings, signage and the removal of vegetation at the island, will be complete by mid-June.

More than £40 million is being sunk into dualling most of the A4440 Southern Link Road by 2018, but not the Carrington Bridge.