Campaign for safety improvements at Four Sister’s junction on A12 is back on the agenda
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge has promised to keep up pressure on the Department for Transport and Highways England to get improvements to junctions on the A12 in his constituency.
He has joined the county council’s transport spokesman James Finch in writing a letter to demand upgrades – a call that has all-party backing from local politicians from across the political spectrum.
They have written to road minister Andrew Jones to demand improvements to the Four Sister’s junction for East Bergholt and Hadleigh and for changes to the junction for Stratford St Mary and Dedham a mile from the Essex border.
There are no plans for a major upgrade to that section of the A12 – although the Government did announce before the election that it plans to create a three-lane road all the way from the M25 to Colchester.
Mr Cartlidge said the new letter was asking for safety improvements on junctions that were notorious on that stretch of the road.
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He said: “We accept that at this stage the Government is not committing funds to that stretch of road for economic reasons – but we believe there must be a budget for urgent safety improvements and that it is urgent that those junctions are improved.”
Both junctions are notorious for having very short slip roads which force vehicles to swerve into the overtaking lane to avoid traffic joining the A12.
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Mr Cartlidge said: “I’ve had to do that myself at East Bergholt. I was just lucky there was nothing overtaking me at the time.”
Drivers who use the road regularly consider that stretch to be very dangerous. He said: “Highways England say that the statistics suggest there are not a great number of accidents there, but people who live in the area say that’s only through the Grace of God.
“We have to keep up the pressure. The first few years after an election are not the best time to get more money out of a government, and we’re not expecting instant work there.
“But we have to make the case and then keep on making it.
“It is very important that these improvements remain on the agenda.”
Earlier in the summer Mr Cartlidge met officials from Highways England when there was concern about delays to the resurfacing work on the road through his constituency.
However it was made clear to him that the agency had no immediate plans to improve the slip roads.
A spokeswoman for Highways England said: “Safety is our top priority and we are looking at ways to continue to improve the A12 in Suffolk and help road users make safer journeys along this vital route.
“We are working closely with Suffolk County Council and other local stakeholders to develop, plan and carry out a number of improvement schemes over the next five years and beyond.
“This includes packages of work identified in the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy. We will continue to keep road users informed as programmes are finalised.”