Death-trap junction's £5m boost

A DEATH-trap junction which claimed the lives of five people in just ten months will finally get "life-saving" improvements – twelve years after the EADT launched a campaign demanding action.

A DEATH-trap junction which claimed the lives of five people in just ten months will finally get "life-saving" improvements – twelve years after the EADT launched a campaign demanding action.

The notorious Rookery crossroads on the A14 at Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds, has been the scene of 69 accidents in the past five years, leaving 18 people either seriously or fatally injured since 1998.

But following a public inquiry, the Highways Agency yesterday announced a £5.5million scheme to improve safety at the dangerous junction would go ahead, with work due to start next spring.

The "life-saving" move has been welcomed by local residents, who have long battled for action they feel could have been taken years ago.


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"This is absolutely excellent news. The scheme is going to be a life-saver – there are no two ways about it," said Sara Mildmay-White, who represents the village on St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

"We have been waiting a long time for this, while less and less people have been using the turn off the A14 because they don't feel happy with it.

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"I have had two learner drivers in the house, and have banned them from using the crossing. That section of road is are bad enough for experienced motorists, but for any vulnerable driver, like the elderly and the young, it is incredibly dangerous."

Plans for improving safety at the site were first announced in 1998, with specific details outlining the measures to be included published three years later.

But an objection made by local man Robin Luff, who called for a new access road to serve people living in nearby Chapmans Close , prompted inspectors to launch a public inquiry, which took place in March.

However, the Secretary of State for Transport announced yesterday the work was to proceed. Although details of the scheme have not yet been revealed, it is believed the plans relate closely to those first suggested in 2001.

They include building a bridge serving the A14 over the minor U8005 and U6321 routes and straightening the busy trunk road at Two Mile Spinney.

A central reservation gap and the junction with the U8003 will also be blocked off.

"The scheme is predicted to open in 2005, and will hopefully achieve a significant reduction in the number of accidents," added Mrs Mildmay-White. "It has got to be a good thing, but its sad it has been such a long time coming."

The Highways Agency will hold a local exhibition as the start date for work approaches to explain the scheme fully to residents and road users.

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