Anger as drivers sent on 10-mile detour around road closure

The C340 is closed due to work to remove overhead power lines across a Sutton Common.

The C340 is closed due to work to remove overhead power lines across a Sutton Common. - Credit: Su Anderson

A road closure has been derided for sending drivers on a 10-mile detour as engineers carry out work on power lines.

Residents of the Sutton Heath estate, near Woodbridge, are being rerouted through three villages while a stretch of the Bromeswell to Hollesley road is closed for up to three weeks.

UK Power Networks (UKPN) began replacing about five kilometres of overhead power lines with underground cable on Monday.

Dave Rutt, who commutes to Anglia Ruskin University, in Chelmsford, said: “I think it shows a shocking level of contempt for the people living in Sutton Heath. The only notice was a sign in the local shop and a leaflet through the door.

“I understand that the roadworks need to be done but I object to not being consulted.

“It adds 40-50 minutes to my day. Each time I leave the house it’s costing me another £6 in fuel.”

Since work began, Mr Rutt has been required to show identification each time he passes the road block, in order to prevent others using the residential area as a shortcut.

Most Read

Hollesley Bay prison traffic is also being diverted through Sutton, Shottisham and Alderton. However, emergency vehicles are permitted to pass, while residents of Rock Barracks, home to the 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), are allowed through a gap in the roadworks between 7am and 6pm.

UKPN said it was sorry to hear that residents were being inconvenienced by the work, which it explained was part of a commitment to remove overhead lines and improve areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

A spokeswoman said the firm had worked with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Suffolk County Council (SCC) and the emergency services to ensure minimum disruption, and that it had liaised with all local parish councils and schools, as well as Natural England and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.

She added: “We abide by strict safety standards and safety is why the road has to be closed for three weeks.

“Extra teams will be working into the evenings and weekends to finish that phase of the work quicker if possible. New machinery and a different method of working should also help complete the work quicker than planned.”

Although the closure has been agreed until January 26, initial work could be complete within a fortnight. Two-way traffic lights will then be set up for a second phase of work until February 28.

SCC said an application by UKPN and contractors Morrisons Utility Services to close the road for 10 weeks had been considered unacceptable and was negotiated down to 11 days. It said the closure was advertised in local press and did not receive any objections before the works began.

UKPN said it was doing all it could to ensure completion as quickly and safely possible, and that anyone with particular issues should call 0800 31 63 105.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter