Felixstowe: Villagers facing long wait for an Operation Stack solution
HIGHWAYS chiefs say they don’t want the old A45 at Levington to become the permanent home for Operation Stack, but have no money for a long-term solution.
Buying farmland and turning it into hardstanding for hundreds of lorries could cost more than �12million – cash unlikely to be available for years to come in the current economic situation.
Instead, work is to be done to improve the current operation of the scheme – used when strong winds close Felixstowe port, Britain’s biggest container terminal – including providing a water supply for truckers, and new road markings to define parking areas.
Villagers have been tolerant with their main concern being safe and uninterrupted access to their homes.
David Long, chairman of Levington Parish Council, said the village still wanted to see a permanent solution and believed the Orwell Crossing truckstop should play a role.
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“Our biggest concern is in icy conditions because that can make the backroads extremely dangerous – we would like more sympathetic response on that and greater priority,” he said.
“We understand the need for stack and it is better on the old A45 than gumming up Felixstowe and the Trimleys, but we are being inconvenienced – 220 people live here and 300 come in to work – and we need to be able to come and go safely.”
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Guy McGregor, county council portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning, said: “I feel it is unreasonable that a situation which has national implications has to be resolved locally.
“Suffolk County Council, as highway authority, is doing the best it possibly can.
“We have looked at all the options. Providing land and hardstanding for something which is unlikely to be used very often would run into many millions of pounds and is not something which can be afforded.
“We have to make the best use of what we have and that is the old A45. We are not making it permanent – it will not be a lorry compound and we will do everything we can to ensure free access and passage for buses and residents.”
Mr McGregor said a permanent water supply would be connected to the area, new road markings put in, Highways Agency patrol officers encouraged to help run the stack and increased efforts would be made to deter truckers from travelling when the port was likely to be closed via various communications services.
It was hoped the new A14 and A12 overhead electronic messaging signs would help with this.
? Should Operation Stack stay as it is? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail evening firstname.lastname@example.org