VIDEO: Inventor wants backing for road closure alert post

An inventor is looking for backing to make a potentially life-saving road device a reality.

Francesco Laurella with the prototype posts. Picture: Kate Shemilt
Francesco Laurella with the prototype posts. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Francesco Laurella has made two prototype lane closure alert posts to be used by the emergency services, vehicle recovery staff or drivers during a traffic collision or when a car breaks down on a busy road.

Mr Laurella has worked in the vehicle recovery business for more than 40 years, and was inspired by the LED signs on motorway gantries which show a cross when a lane is closed.

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The posts include a flashing cross and a white arrow signalling for drivers to move out of the lane.

Francesco Laurella with the prototype posts. Picture: Kate Shemilt

He said: “People will realise when it is used that it could save people’s lives and reduce the expense to insurance companies by preventing accidents.

“This would create a sensible situation where drivers would take note and know what to do, not just see flashing lights. Not confusion, but direction.”

The 66-year-old, who lived in Worthing for 40 years, has been working on the post since 2015.

The footage above shows him using the first prototype on the Upper Brighton Road stretch of the A27 in Sompting and shows it was successful in making cars move out of the lane.

He said he has been praised for the idea by different bodies, including Sussex Police, and Mac Hobbs from The Institute of Vehicle Recovery.

Steven Robinson, from the RAC, visited the father-of-two at his current home in Barnham to see the prototype.

Mr Laurella contacted the Department of Transport’s traffic division to see if it would adopt his invention.

While it complimented the idea, the current design was rejected because of concerns it was too small and could blow over in the wind.

The next step in the process is making another version which meets the strict legislation for road signs.

Mr Laurella has been speaking to Dok-Tek Systems in Bristol who he said are keen to help him manufacture another of his inventions – a red cross which could fit in the rear window of a car.

But he is still looking for backing for the post.

He said: “I would welcome anyone out there who can challenge me on my design, and can help me in any shape or form.”

If you think you can help Francesco develop his prototype, call the paper on 01903 282 377.

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