TWO men were killed on the notorious Stocksbridge bypass in a black 48 hours on South Yorkshire’s roads.
The men - believed to be the 27th and 28th fatalities on the A616 - died in a pile-up yesterday on a stretch between Tankersley roundabout and the junction with the A629, near Wortley.
The smash happened at around 6.12am, when a white Vauxhall Astra Sportive van heading towards Sheffield tried to overtake several other vehicles and collided head-on with a blue Ford Transit travelling in the opposite direction.
The driver of the Vauxhall - a 27-year-old man from Langold, near Worksop - died at the scene, and the driver of the Ford - a 47-year-old man from Hoyland, Barnsley - was also killed.
A passenger in the Ford - a 23-year-old Hoyland man - had to be treated at Barnsley Hospital for a broken right hand and whiplash.
Following the initial collision, a red Rover car crashed into the rear underside of the Transit van. Its driver - a man aged 42 from Gleadless, Sheffield - suffered bruising and whiplash.
Today councillors and the MP who represents the area said they believed speed cameras installed in 2003 had made the road safer after 25 deaths in the first 14 years since it opened in 1988.
Coun Steve Wilson, who represents East Ecclesfield on Sheffield Council, said: “I use the road a hell of a lot and I’m shocked there has been another fatal collision.
“In the years since speed cameras were installed I don’t think there has been a problem with people driving dangerously or too fast - and it looked as if the safety problems had been solved.”
Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith added: “There is no doubt this incident is a tragedy and my condolences go out to the families involved. If there are any further lessons they should be learned.”
A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said officers are ‘desperate’ for witnesses who saw yesterday’s collision to come forward, adding: “We know there were some other vehicles in the area.”
Traffic built up after the stretch of road was closed in both directions while emergency services attended. Fire crews used cutting gear to free the men. The road re-opened at 11.20am.
Kathryn Stuart, a receptionist at the Premier Inn nearby, told The Star guests heard police and ambulance sirens in the morning. “There were quite a lot of police cars going past,” she said.
The speed limit on the stretch of road is 60mph.
Barnsley Council leader Coun Steve Houghton said: “Things seemed to have improved on the A616 since the speed cameras were put in and we hoped they had done the trick, but now we have another tragedy. My sympathy goes to the families.”
Two-year-old Grace Nicholson was the 25th person to die on the bypass in a crash between her dad’s car and another vehicle in May 2002.
Since then, according to the Department of Transport, there has been one ‘alcohol related’ fatality on the bypass, and other deaths nearby.
In 2008 Doncaster taxi driver Pamela Thurlow, 57, was killed near the bypass at Flouch, and in May last year Sam Ellam, 76, and his wife June, 71, from Mottram, Greater Manchester, were killed at Dunford. At the time their family said: “Something must now be done to improve this blackspot.”
Witnesses or anyone with information about yesterday’s crash should call 0114 220 2020.