Geologists hope to solve A14 'slump'

GEOLOGISTS have been brought in solve the mystery of a slump in a key stretch of the A14.

Laurence Cawley

GEOLOGISTS have been brought in solve the mystery of a slump in a key stretch of the A14.

It is six months since motorists first reported the two-metre wide collapse at the recently upgraded Rougham section of the carriageway at the Rookery Crossroads section at Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds.

The stretch, which was finished in March 2006, was first affected by subsidence in October that year.

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The Rougham section, which is used by 40,000 people a day, was completed �2million over budget, but campaigners who had battled for improvements to the notorious stretch of carriageway welcomed the safety measures introduced.

Then last year further subsidence was reported in the centre of the westbound carriageway.

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A temporary speed limit was put in place by the Highways Agency and temporary works, which involved planning about 15m of both westbound lanes, were carried out to ease the problem.

However, the underlying cause of the problem has not yet been discovered and it has now emerged that geologists have been brought in alongside structural engineers to try and find out what has led to the slumping.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley, who has been in contact with the Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton about the issue, said: “They are still doing the research and I think I am due for another update. They have geologists as well as structural engineers looking into it.

“I have asked them twice, maybe more, for a monthly update but all I seem to be told is that it is terribly complicated.”

He said he would be furious if the Highways Agency again imposed a speed restriction on the Rougham section or closed a lane for further works to be carried out.

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: “Ground survey reports have been carried out and the findings are being evaluated.”

She added it was hoped the results could be released soon.

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