County considers major road schemes

EXCLUSIVEBy John HowardEIGHTEEN multi-million-pound schemes have been drawn up to improve the roads of Suffolk in an effort to reduce the number of accidents and relieve congested towns and villages.

EXCLUSIVE

By John Howard

EIGHTEEN multi-million-pound schemes have been drawn up to improve the roads of Suffolk in an effort to reduce the number of accidents and relieve congested towns and villages.

However, residents have been warned few of the projects are likely to be implemented as they will have to compete with schemes across the country for Government funding.


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The schemes include an £18million bypass for Farnham, Stratford, Little Glemham and Marlesford, a £6m bypass for Stonham, a multi-million-pound bypass for Brandon and a £7m of work to improve the Barnby bends on the A146.

Bypasses for Great Barton, Ingham, Wrentham and Bungay, relief roads for Beccles and Mildenhall and ambitious plans for a £85m East Bank link road in Ipswich and £95m-worth of improvements to the Ipswich Waterfront roads are also on the list.

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A team of Suffolk County Council officers are currently working on the transport plans, which will be put before its executive committee on September 7, when they will be prioritised and a decision taken on which ones should be included in the next five-year road programme.

A county council spokesman said: "The schemes being considered are key schemes in the county which would make a significant improvement to transport in the county.

"We have got to pick one or two worth bidding for from the Government. They are quite pricey and we cannot carry them forward ourselves unless we get Government backing.

"A possible bypass at Stonham at the A140 is one of those possible schemes. It's being shared with local people and a decision on whether we include it in our local transport plan for 2006 to 2011 will go to our executive committee for a decision during September."

He added: "It's one of several schemes being considered by the county council for possible bidding for funding from the Government. I can't say whether it is the most likely to be accepted.

"Our executive committee on September 7 will consider the results of the assessments for all schemes and will decide which should be taken forward into the local transport plan.

"Government advice is that we can only expect to get funding for one major scheme in any five-year local transport plan period."

Julian Swainson, the county councillor whose portfolio covers transport, said the Government would be looking at issues including safety, the environment and the economy when deciding which schemes to fund.

"We need to get this right. We want to try to avoid going for schemes just because one group is more articulate. If the schemes do not fit the Government's assessment criteria, we will get nothing and then the communities will not get the benefit," he added.

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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