Joy at opening of £30m relief road

DECADES of frustration, controversy and anticipation came to an end yesterday when the £30m Lowestoft relief road was officially opened.Hailed as a boost to the town's economy and regeneration, the road aims to ease congestion along the A12 and divert traffic away from residential areas.

DECADES of frustration, controversy and anticipation came to an end yesterday when the £30m Lowestoft relief road was officially opened.

Hailed as a boost to the town's economy and regeneration, the road aims to ease congestion along the A12 and divert traffic away from residential areas.

But after years of false starts, potential legal battles and other problems, a host of dignitaries were on hand to open the 2.63 miles stretch of road, which cuts through Kirkley.

The road has been called the single biggest investment for the town and has taken about 18 months to construct.


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Although work will continue around the road until November, including work near to the Bascule Bridge, motorists were able to make their first journeys yesterday afternoon.

Lord Tollemache, the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, officially opened the road and said: “I know this scheme has huge significance for everyone here in Lowestoft and marks another important point in the regeneration of Lowestoft.”

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He added: “Like all schemes this has been long in the making. I am struck reading the history that the corridor was first identified in 1966, the last time England won the World Cup. Let's hope that it is more than coincidence that we are opening the road in 2006, another World Cup year.”

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who has actively campaigned for the road, said it was a “great day” for Lowestoft.

“This it the largest single investment any government has made in the town and I think it will make a huge difference and improve the quality of life of so many people by taking traffic away from some of the Victorian road network and putting them here,” he said.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said the road was another step towards the regeneration of the town.

“It also offers a lot of environmental benefits to Lowestoft - such as the creation of reedbeds and several ponds along the road, which will be used to store storm water and reduce flooding, as well as being an important habitat for wildlife.”

From now on the road will be known as Tom Crisp Way in honour of the fisherman who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his courage in the First World War when a German submarine surfaced and opened fire on his smack, Nelson.

Skipper Crisp was below deck, packing fish when the shell hit the boat below the water line and another shell passed through the ship, mortally wounding the skipper, who went on directing operations.

He gave the order to abandon ship but he himself was too badly injured to be moved and went down with the Nelson.

Tom Crisp's name and deeds were cited in the London Gazette of November 2, 1917 and yesterday his granddaughter, Doreen Hague, 80, unveiled a sign carrying the name of the new road.

“I am so proud,” she said. “He was a marvellous man and was a wonderful skipper to everybody on board.”

Mrs Hague, who lives in Gunton, north Lowestoft, said she still commemorates the date of her grandfather's death every year.

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