Danger road to get £32m safety scheme
By Jonathan BarnesCAMPAIGNERS for improvements to an accident blackspot reacted with delight last night as the Government revealed a £32million safety project.
By Jonathan Barnes
CAMPAIGNERS for improvements to an accident blackspot reacted with delight last night as the Government revealed a £32million safety project.
The major scheme, for the Haughley bends near Stowmarket, is designed to reduce accidents and improve safety on the A14.
It will include building a new 2.5-mile stretch of dual carriageway road and a two-level junction between Fishponds Way and Stowmarket.
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The new junction, which will be situated closer to Stowmarket, will separate through traffic on the A14 from local traffic.
Announcing the scheme yesterday, roads minister, David Jamieson, said: “I am pleased that plans to improve this important dual carriageway linking Felixstowe with the Midland are now a step closer.
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“This section of the A14 through Suffolk has a poor accident record. This much-needed scheme would improve safety for residents of Haughley and drivers using the A14 dual carriageway.”
The announcement follows a period of public consultation and will see the new dual carriageway built to the south of the existing A14.
The scheme will also include a new overbridge at Quarries Cross picnic area, extensive landscaping and mounding to reduce the environmental impact of the scheme and improved cycling facilities.
Currently, the stretch of the A14 covering the bends is covered by a 50mph speed limit with fixed speed cameras - a move introduced in 2000 to tackle the area's accident record.
Jeffrey Bowden, chairman of Haughley Parish Council, said: “This is good news for the people of Haughley and good news for the 30,000 drivers who use the A14 every day.
“It takes the road further away from Haughley and benefits us without disadvantaging anyone else.”
He added: “I think Haughley Parish Council were responsible in the initial stages of influencing the decision and it shows what you can do if you put your mind to it.
“But I also think we have to be cautious until the road is actually built. Until then, you never really know what is going to happen.”
John Prigg, a Haughley parish councillor, added: “This is the ideal scheme for the Haughley bends - there is not a negative aspect to it
“It will cater for everyone. Drivers travelling east and west will be able to gain access to the A14 from Stowmarket and there will be better facilities for local traffic.”
He continued: “The bends will no longer be a part of the main A14 and, hopefully, it will cut down on accidents.
“The only drawback is the work will probably not be starting for another five years. It can't come quickly enough.”
The next stage will see tender documents for the scheme prepared and draft orders are due to be published towards the end of next year.
n Plans for the scheme can be seen at Haughley Post Office and Stowmarket Town Council's offices in Milton Road South, Stowmarket.