Somerset

M5 crash: MPs call on government to improve roads

Flowers on M5 bridge
Image caption The motorway between junctions 24 and 25 reopened on Sunday evening

Transport links to the South West must be improved following the crash on the M5 that killed seven people, the government has been told.

The 37-vehicle pile-up on Friday night also left 51 people injured and closed a section of the motorway for 48 hours.

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Oliver Colvile said connectivity to the region was "a very big issue".

Transport Secretary Justine Greening has agreed to meet MPs to discuss the problem.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Conservative Mr Colvile offered his condolences to those affected by the crash.

Residents' vigil

He also raised the need for better connections when the M5, one of two strategic routes into the South West, is closed.

The alternative is the A303, which has long stretches of single carriageway.

During the M5 closure after the crash, traffic was diverted on to the A38 through the village of North Petherton, with long tailbacks ensuing.

Image caption The 37-vehicle crash left seven people dead and 51 injured

"Connectivity with the peninsula, not only by railway but by road, is a very big issue," Mr Colvile told the Commons.

"The M5 is the only arterial dual carriageway that goes the whole way down."

Conservative Ms Greening said she raised questions on winter resilience for the area during a visit to the scene of the crash near Taunton on Sunday.

The motorway, between junctions 24 and 25, reopened on Sunday evening.

Police investigating the cause of the crash are treating a nearby fireworks display as a "major line of inquiry".

Detectives have appealed for any amateur footage of the fireworks or the crash scene to be sent to them.

A vigil is due to be held by the local community next to the scene on Friday, a week after the crash.

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