Fiveways improvements delayed as drivers in Mildenhall make repeated calls for traffic lights
07:15 25 January 2016
Improvements to the much-maligned Fiveways roundabout near Mildenhall have been postponed.
The work, which would see improved signage and markings introduced to ensure drivers get in lane, was due to start last week, but the issues over the safety of roadworkers meant the work was postponed and is now hoped to take place by spring 2016. However, many people have called for more significant improvements such as traffic lights to take place on the A11 junction, which has been the scene of several collisions and regular rush-hour congestion.
The work, by Highways England, was due to be carried out after at £100million upgrade to the A11 last year, dualling the busy road between Mildenhall and Thetford.
Project manager Geoff Chatfield said: “Safety is Highways England’s top priority. We had planned to start work last night on the A11 around Fiveways Roundabout but a combination of factors including the safety of our road workers meant that we have decided to postpone the work for now.
“We want to do this right, so we are now working closely with our contractors to review plans and reschedule the work to a date as soon as we are able.
“We apologise for the delay in carrying out this work. In the meantime, we have made sure temporary signs are in place on the approaches to the A11 to help reduce the likelihood of incidents and encourage drivers to use the correct lanes as they enter the roundabout.
“Road users and local residents will be kept informed as soon as there is a new start date.”
Mildenhall Parish Council vice chairman Richard Greenfield said: “Some form of [traffic] lighting seems to be the most sensible solution in the long term.
“Flyovers and the like are unlikely. I don’t think I have ever come across a junction with so many entrances and exits without lighting apart from Fiveways.
“Something does need to be done, I think some sort of shielding on the approach could also help reduce the speed people enter roundabouts – speed limits are pointless, people just ignore them.
“The speed people enter from the south is particularly concerning, you don’t hear about as many accidents as you think but it is dangerous.”
Last year a lorry overturned on the roundabout heading southbound, shedding its load of scrap metal. Several other single and multiple vehicle incident have occurred, but no one has been seriously hurt.
Dr Greenfield said the opening of the popular McDonald’s restaurant adjoining the roundabout had also added to congestion.
The campaign for traffic lights is also supported by West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, after thousands signed a petition calling for the improvements.