MOTORISTS are to be hit by delays and longer journeys around an already congested town centre one-way system from Sunday, January 13, when a major through-road will be closed for at least three days.

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Diversions will be put in place in Sudbury while National Grid carries out work in Gainsborough Street to install a domestic gas supply to a house.

Suffolk County Council and National Grid have confirmed that the road will be closed from January 13 to 15 to enable the work to be carried out “safely”.

But Sudbury mayor, Jack Owen has criticised the county for not consulting local councillors before making the decision to close such an “important route”.

There are also fears that the closure will send more motorists down Cross Street, which is already under pressure from heavy traffic entering the town from Essex and is consequently one of the most polluted streets in Suffolk.

Mr Owen said: “I am disappointed that council officers have taken this decision without taking into consideration the implications of closing such a major road, or how they are going to keep traffic moving.

“I find it unbelievable that they have done this without any consultation with local people who know the traffic system, and I will be writing to (highways chief) Guy McGregor to ask him about this.”

He added: “In this day and age it should be possible to install gas to a home at night-time without having to close a road and create such chaos.”

While the work is taking place, drivers entering Sudbury via King Street and Market Hill will be diverted along Friars Street and Church Street, making a right turn into Cross Street and eventually rejoining the one-way system in Gregory Street.

A county council spokesman said because there would be more traffic travelling along Friars Street and Church Street, these roads would be one-way while the work is being carried out.

He added: “This will affect traffic coming from the Ballingdon side of Sudbury because motorists will not be able to turn right into Church Street to get to Friars Street.

“Instead they will have to continue on and around the one-way system going back into King Street and then on to Market Hill in order to get access to Friars Street going the correct way. Plough Lane and School Street will also be open to be used as cut-throughs.”

National Grid had initially planned to close the road for five days but now hopes to be able to complete the work more quickly than that.

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