Frustration as temporary traffic lights left in place for nearly a year

Martin Hunt next to the temporary traffic lights in Clopton. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Otley parish councillor Martin Hunt next to the temporary traffic lights on the B1078 between Otley and Clopton. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A parish councillor has described his ‘frustration’ that temporary traffic lights have been in place for nearly a year - causing disruption on a busy rural road. 

Otley parish councillor Martin Hunt said Suffolk County Council’s highways department had installed the lights in February 2021 on the B1078 between Elm Cottage Cattery, near Otley and Clopton to enable repairs to damage caused by subsidence. 

He added: “Roads are closed a day at a time to do little pothole repairs, but we are still enduring traffic lights 24/7 which have been in place since February. It is so frustrating that these are still in place when they have had so long to repair the road,” Mr Ward added. 

However, Mr Hunt said the B1078 was not a ‘quiet country lane’ and was often used as a diversion route for traffic.

He added: “It is a primary route that is used as a diversion and it is part of the main link road between Needham Market and Wickham Market. It is quite a country trunk road as opposed to being a little country lane.”

He said the road often floods during heavy rainfall and could not understand why a ‘retainer wall’ could not be installed to prevent the subsidence.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Highways said: “Traffic signals were put in place along B1078 Otley for the safety of road users, following a bank collapse. It has been essential that vehicles keep off the area to avoid further subsidence. Since the signals have been in place we have designed a new retaining feature to repair the subsidence and protect the bank in years to come.

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“The design has been agreed and we are currently awaiting consent from the Environment Agency to carry out work adjacent to and within their watercourse. We have chased the Environment Agency for an update on progress and hope to receive approval soon. Once consent has been granted, we will work with contractors to get the works scheduled at the earliest convenience.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may be causing.”

The proposed retaining feature is Gabion baskets, which are wire mesh cages filled with rocks.

The lights will remain in place for safety reasons until a solution has been found.