Budget silence prompts concerns over A14 upgrade across Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 17:20 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:20 29 October 2018
Campaigners seeking to improve the A14 in Suffolk are still waiting to see if there will be more money to improve the road after the Chancellor failed to mention a financial boost to Highways England in his budget speech.
Philip Hammond had been expected to announce a £29bn boost for the agency in his budget speech – but although he promised £420m for local authorities to fix potholes in their roads, there was no mention of a major investment in major routes across the country.
The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the county’s MPs are calling for improvements to seven junctions on the Suffolk stretch of the road from the A142 junction at Exning just outside Newmarket to the Seven Hills interchange east of Ipswich where the A12 north meets in the A14.
The largest single project they are hoping to see completed is the Copdock Mill interchange south of Ipswich where the A12 heading to Colchester, Chelmsford, and the M25 hits the A14.
They hope to see this replaced by a full grade-separated junction that would allow traffic to move between the two trunk roads without having to stop at a roundabout or traffic lights.
The Chamber, says the pinch-points cost businesses in the county £360m a year – as well as frustration for drivers using the road for leisure journeys.
It will be asking Suffolk’s MPs to ensure that part of the £29bn promised to Highways England during the run-up to the budget speech to upgrade roads across the country is allocated to the A14 as well as to the A12 in Essex which is due to be widened to three lanes all the way between Chelmsford and Colchester.
Chief executive John Dugmore said: “Suffolk Chamber was surprised, contrary to the pre-Budget messaging, that there was no explicit mention of additional funding for Highways England to upgrade our strategic roads network. We hope that there will be more clarity over the next day or so on this important issue for Suffolk and the UK as a whole – with the A14 clearly not fit for purpose.
“In addition, businesses and consumers alike will remain concerned at the continued anaemic growth figures forecast between now and 2023. More capital investment in our communications, rail and road infrastructure – building for growth in other words – is needed now more than ever.”