Telephone engineers blamed for cutting power to traffic lights as six people hurt in crash
TELEPHONE engineers have been blamed for cutting power to a set of traffic lights at one of Plymouth's busiest junction ahead of an accident which saw six people hurt.
Two cars collided in Outland Road following a series of traffic light failures near the Britannia Inn pub yesterday, a Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said.
All six occupants were given medical treatment at the scene for shock and minor injuries.
Police said the accident, which sparked "chaos" along the busy route, happened after the faulty lights were reported to Plymouth City Council's Highways department.
The accident happened shortly before 11.40am yesterday at the junction of Outland Road, Milehouse Road and Wolseley Road.
A council spokesman said: "At 10.30am yesterday morning a telephone company work crew accidentally cut through a power cable causing a power cut in the area including the traffic lights at Outland Road. Within 20 minutes Plymouth Transport and Highways had an engineer on site and shortly after had advance warnings up on the approach roads and local media traffic and travel news desks were informed so drivers could be warned. Western Power Distribution were on site within the hour to repair the damaged cable and it was anticipated it would be fixed very quickly.
"Where there is a power failure such as this, the national agreed practice is not to put 'out of order' signs on the ground. This is because the signs could still be in place when the power is restored which could result in drivers go through a red light thinking they're not working properly.
"In situations such as this the Highway Code tells drivers to treat the area like an unmarked junction and proceed with great care. The traffic lights were working again by lunchtime."
A foreign-registered Vauxhall Astra estate and a blue Honda Civic saloon were involved in the smash.
None of the occupants required hospital treatment but several people were treated by ambulance staff for minor injuries and the effects of shock, said one officer who attended the scene.
A force spokesman added: "The problem was that there was a fault with the traffic lights, causing all of the traffic lights to go off.
"The information we have is that it had been reported earlier in the day.
"Police assisted in clearing the scene and even by the time officers left no one had come along to look at the lights.
"That junction and Marsh Mills are probably the two busiest junctions in the city.
"A traffic light failure would make an accident almost inevitable.
"Luckily no one was seriously hurt, but it did cause a bit of chaos."
In a separate incident yesterday afternoon, a crash involving a car and a lorry at Marsh Mills caused further tailbacks for drivers.
Police say the car and truck had been involved in a collision at the roundabout itself, just before the Eastbound A38 on-slip.
Nobody was injured in the incident, which happened just before 5pm, but rush hour motorists using the route faced delays.
One lane remained closed until around 5.30pm, when recovery crews arrived and the road was fully reopened.