Crossing safety under spotlight

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RAF Mildenhall and RAFLakenheath are hoping safety at a notorious level crossing improves after joining forces with a police authority.

Representatives the US Air Force bases have been working closely with staff from the British Transport Police (BTP) to tackle safety issues at the Lakenheath level crossing.

On September 9, the BTP set up surveillance devices and made itself a clear presence.

But officers were still forced to pursue two motorists who attempted to pass other cars on the crossing between Lakenheath and Feltwell on the B1112.

The Lakenheath crossing is one of the worst in East Anglia, with 6,000 vehicles and 70 trains passing through it in a 24-hour period.

According to the BTP, the crossing is one of the top four most abused crossings in the region.

Unlike more modern crossings, the Lakenheath crossing is manned, with a Network Rail engineer opening and closing the gates.

Sgt Natalie Turner, representing RAF Mildenhall, said: “Because it’s a straight road in the area, people can get up to 70mph trying to get through before the gates close. The problem is there is a human that closes the gates.”

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said level crossings were safe to use, but breaching safety guidelines could be fatal.

“Jumping the lights and ignoring warning signs is sadly a sight we see all too often at level crossings.

“Motorists who jump the lights or smash into barriers as they try and beat them coming down can cause great disruption and cost to the network.”