End in sight for 'disruptive' and long running rural traffic lights

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

Long running temporary traffic lights on a busy rural road are finally set to be removed with the start of repairs to a bank that had collapsed due to erosion. 

The lights on the B1078 between Otley and Clopton have been in place for a year causing disruption for communities in the area and frustration for a local councillor, who was concerned about a lack of action to resolve the problem. 

However, a Suffolk County Council highways team is due to start work on March 28 which will include the installation of rock-filled cages, known as gabion baskets, to shore up the bank. 

Once the six-week project is complete, the road will be able to fully reopen to traffic. 

In January, Otley parish councillor Martin Hunt had spoken of his concerns the county council had had so long to resolve the problem, but nothing was being done. 

He said the road was not a "quiet country road", but a main link for vehicles travelling between Needham Market and Wickham Market and Debenham and Woodbridge, as well as a diversion route when the Orwell Bridge was closed. 

“I am delighted that they are going to be doing the work, but surprised that the road needs to be shut for six weeks,” Mr Hunt added. 

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A full road closure will be required and a diversion route will be in place. The official diversion is via B1078, B1077, A1214, A12, B1079 and vice versa. 

As well as the gabion baskets, erosion control matting will also be installed to the watercourse and bank for a distance of 20 metres, new drainage added to the road, a reinforced kerb line, a new post and rail fence and road repairs. 

The start to repairs had been delayed due to a number of ‘complexities,’ including the proximity to the river, the potential for further erosion, the need for Environment Agency consent to work next to the watercourse and the need to re-position an undermined telecoms pole. 

Resource issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had also contributed. 

Councillor Paul West, county council cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and flooding, said: “I want to thank Otley Parish Council and the local community for their patience whilst we organise for the new build and repair of the embankment collapse at Otley Bottom.  

“These works have taken longer than usual to take place, so I apologise for the inconvenience this is causing local residents.”