Calls for dualling of A12 in Suffolk
A NEW report claims that only dualling the A12 between Ipswich and Lowestoft will bring substantial benefits to the economy of north east Suffolk.The section of the trunk road north of Ipswich is the responsibility of Suffolk County Council, which has made it clear there are no plans to create any new stretches of dual carriageway.
By David Lennard
A NEW report claims that only dualling the A12 between Ipswich and Lowestoft will bring substantial benefits to the economy of north east Suffolk.
The section of the trunk road north of Ipswich is the responsibility of Suffolk County Council, which has made it clear there are no plans to create any new stretches of dual carriageway.
Instead, a series of junction improvements and traffic calming measures are proposed for the road in the coming years.
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This has angered business leaders in north Suffolk, and Waveney MP Bob Blizzard is among those calling for more substantial improvements – claiming it is holding back the economic recovery in the north of the county.
Their arguments have been backed up by a report, released yesterday, by the Suffolk Development Agency (SDA). It commissioned a study into the economic benefits to north east Suffolk of investment in improving the road and rail links between Lowestoft and Ipswich.
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ECOTEC Research and Consulting were appointed to undertake this work and have now submitted their final report to the SDA.
It contains two options for improving road links to north east Suffolk and both involve fully dualling the A12 between Ipswich and Lowestoft. Improvements to the rail links were also considered.
The main findings and conclusions arising from the study are:
n Improved journey times and reliability, with fewer accidents.
n Improvements in actual and perceived accessibility would bring substantial benefits to the economy of north east Suffolk, it predicts. Between 168 and 336 additional jobs could be created, adding between £6m and £12m to the local economy over the next 10 years.
Tony Preston, SDA chairman, said: "The current adverse perceptions of Lowestoft and north east Suffolk as a peripheral location are holding back the development of the area's economy.
"This report clearly demonstrates the importance of improved transport links for the future prosperity of the area."
Mr Preston said the SDA would be consulting its partners on the findings and recommendations of the report and will be considering what steps should be taken next.
Suffolk County Council welcomed the completion of the SDA study into improving the transport infrastructure between Lowestoft and Ipswich but councillors would not give any commitment to dualling the A12.
Joan Girling, a member of Suffolk County Council's executive committee, said: "The executive committee looks forward to receiving the final report, considering its contents, and working with the SDA and other partners to consider whether an additional package of measures is justified to support economic development and regeneration in the Waveney area."
A statement from the county council said a number of transport improvements were already being carried out or are planned for the near future in north Suffolk.
These include the latest phase of the Carlton Colville bypass and the £30m South Lowestoft Relief Road project due to commence next year.
"Any new transport improvements would need to be subject to justification in their own right and take into account environmental issues, value for money and other factors," said the statement.
The county council pointed out that the two options for improving the A12 which the consultants produced for the report have been costed at £240 million and £320 million.