A140 speed limits to stay

COUNTY councillors yesterday made the experimental 50mph speed limits restrictions on the A140 permanent - despite the vast majority of people being opposed to the move.

By John Howard

COUNTY councillors yesterday made the experimental 50mph speed limits restrictions on the A140 permanent - despite the vast majority of people being opposed to the move.

And they voted to review the other speed limits on the road, with a view to possibly making speed limits in the villages 30mph because many people find the mixture of 50mph, 40mph and 30mph restrictions confusing.

The experimental 50mph speed limit was introduced in June 2004 in a bid to improve safety on the notorious Suffolk stretch that has claimed 76 lives during the past 25 years.


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There has been an overall reduction in the number of accidents during the trial, which includes new 30mph and 40mph zones, compared with the previous 18 months.

But there have also been three deaths this year and a public consultation exercise brought more than 350 responses from motorists and those living and working along the A140, with 79% stating they did not want the 50mph limit retained.

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Objectors claim what is really needed are village bypasses and other major improvements to the route, a strategically important link between Ipswich and Norwich.

Councillor Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads and transport, said: “There was extensive debate about making the 50mph permanent on the A140.

“What convinced me was the significant reduction in accidents on the road, fatalities and other accidents.

“If you are going to have an accident on that road, it's far better that it's at a lower speed than a higher one.''

Mr McGregor added that people living along the road also felt safer as a result of the 50mph speed limit.

But Anthony Fowler, who lives at Earl Stonham just off the A140 and represents the Stonhams as their mid Suffolk district councillor, said: “The fact that 50mph is needed permanently shows how damn dangerous this road is.

“Keeping the speed down is one way of cutting down the carnage. But it's a short-term solution, wallpapering over the cracks. The road has to be improved, sooner rather than later.

“The East Anglian road system is being strangled, the Government is putting a very tight grip on the purse strings.

“The road is only safe by the grace of God. It's only a matter of time before there is another nasty accident, it's not a case of if, but when.''

Andrew Stringer, a mid Suffolk district councillor who represents Mendlesham, said: “I have had a lot of discussions with people about the 50mph limit on the A140 and found that the blanket 50mph was accepted quite readily.

“It was the amount of fluctuations between 50mph, 40mph and 30mph that people have found frustrating.

“What there is still a lot of scope for on the A140 is safety improvements, safety has to be paramount, and there are junctions on that road that need improving.''

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