Council set to back A140 speed limits

CONTROVERSIAL plans to make temporary speed limits on the Suffolk stretch of the A140 permanent look set to be further backed by road chiefs.Suffolk County Council's roads and transport scrutiny committee, which has the power to reject the proposals, has been asked to endorse the recommendation that the 50mph restrictions remain in place despite heavy local opposition.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to make temporary speed limits on the Suffolk stretch of the A140 permanent look set to be further backed by road chiefs.

Suffolk County Council's roads and transport scrutiny committee, which has the power to reject the proposals, has been asked to endorse the recommendation that the 50mph restrictions remain in place despite heavy local opposition.

The speed limit has been in force since June 2004 in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents on the notorious road, which is the main route between Norwich and Ipswich.

The restrictions were due to finish at the end of December but last month Suffolk County Council's rights of way committee agreed that they should remain in force permanently.

It was also agreed that a review of the existing 30mph, 40mph and some of the 50mph stretches should take place in light of concerns from Suffolk police that the constant changing of speeds was unnecessary and led to confusion for drivers.

And now a report to the scrutiny committee, to be considered on December 6, has recommended councillors back the proposals ahead of a meeting of the full cabinet on December 8 when a final decision will be made.

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Peter Beer, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: “At the moment we are still coming to a decision but it looks promising. Obviously I don't know for definite and we will be sure to consider everybody's views before we take the recommendation forward.

“We are currently carrying out a walk through of the road, accompanied by police and other partners, where we will be looking at the facts, the level of traffic and the speed limits to see what we think.

“There are a number of concerned parties that have views - the police, speed camera groups, committees, working parties, local residents and parish councils - and we will be taking into account all of them before forming an opinion.”

During the trial period for the temporary restrictions 274, 79%, of the 348 people that sent recommendations to the council wanted to see a return to the previous 60mph speed limit - even though the number of injury accidents recorded on the road during that time was the lowest in six years and there were also no fatalities.

The most popular reasons included increased bunching of traffic because of slower speeds, increased overtaking and tailgating, confusion because of the constant changing of speed, lack of concentration on the road because drivers were always checking their speedometer, longer journey times and difficulty joining at junctions.

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