Leo Olivero

Last Week Serious Accident – Questions Raised

Last weeks serious accident on the airport runway was just one that was waiting to happen, this is not just me or Panorama who have made this statement in the past, it is a frequently held opinion by road users that many accidents on local roads are just waiting to happen! 

Today, the use of the airport road runway is not conducive to a safe driving experience, where space, effective road markings and lighting at night is very poor, and certainly, not what it should be, particularly in inclement weather which was the case in last weeks unfortunate accident.

The huge volumes of traffic in this area is tremendous, with lorries, vans, private cars, motor cycles, penal cycles and of course the increasing number of electrical scooters, but not forgetting the most important road user ‘the many thousands of pedestrians’ all of which makes up the daily and often gridlock congested scenario of this most important and busy traffic area that in my opinion, has not been successfully managed using any effective traffic management plan, as I have already alluded to.

For the majority of drivers it is the route-one direction across the runway and a manic race against time to get to the frontier gates, which is primary locked-in directional course for most regular frontier road users. At the same time road safety appears a secondary thought.

Everything converges and becomes even more acutely dangerous when the third-line traffic diversion is put in place, where chances of an accident rocket.

The lack of clear third lane traffic signage adds to the confusion for drivers and pedestrians alike which obviously increases, particularly when you think, the direction of the road is suddenly reversed in one lane that runs alongside side another. Think of the tourist in particular, who is suddenly confronted with another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction in the same lane and wondering ‘WTF’ is happening here? Because diversions signs are either not seen or the authorities take it for granted that every driver in the world is aware of the third lane to the Gibraltar-Spanish frontier.

And take pedestrians who have to walk a narrow pathway across the runway, which is often even more hazardous, especially at night, because the area is so badly lit across the runway, which poses an obvious danger.

I’m not suggesting the accident on the runway last week had anything to do with any of my comments or opinions in this report ‘every accident has a different set of circumstances’. But the driving environment and management of traffic remains the same for all!

It would also be of interest if someone could confirm if there is a ‘Contingency Plan’ in place for a traffic accident on the runway. If there is, was the plan activated at last week’s traffic accident and if it wasn’t... why?

It might be a good time to point out that the sooner the airport/frontier tunnel is completed the better, particularly, from round safety and runway road perspective. There appears to be little by way of any urgency, either politically or from the Spanish Contractor to complete this now aptly named ‘Cross Border Time-Tunnel’.