Year of temporary traffic lights to end as long-awaited works start

Otley parish councillor Martin Hunt next to the temporary traffic lights on the B1078 between Otley

Otley parish councillor Martin Hunt next to the temporary traffic lights, which are finally set to be removed on Monday - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The end could finally be in sight for a long-running saga over temporary traffic lights on a busy rural road with roadworks due to start at the site on Monday. 

The lights have been in place for a year on the B1078 between Otley and Clopton after a bank collapsed, but engineers from Suffolk County Council are finally due to arrive on Monday to begin repair work. 

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. 

The delay had caused frustration for local motorists and Otley parish councillor Martin Hunt, who was concerned about a lack of action to resolve the problem. 

However, on Friday, he said he was pleased that the roadworks were finally set to begin. 

“We are delighted. It feels like it has been a long while in the process, but nonetheless, we are still delighted with it because you have to suffer the pain to get the gain,” Mr Hunt said. 

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The six-week project will include the installation of rock-filled cages, known as gabion baskets, to shore up the bank. 

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. 

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. 

Once the work is complete, the road will be able to fully reopen to traffic. 

In January, Mr Hunt 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.