Major opposition to A140 speed limits
MOST people do not want to see slower speed limits made permanent on the A140 in Suffolk - despite a trial scheme making the road safer for motorists.A blanket temporary 50mph speed limit has been in force since June 2004 in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents on the notorious road, which is the main route from Ipswich to Norwich.
MOST people do not want to see slower speed limits made permanent on the A140 in Suffolk - despite a trial scheme making the road safer for motorists.
A blanket temporary 50mph speed limit has been in force since June 2004 in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents on the notorious road, which is the main route from Ipswich to Norwich.
The restrictions are due to finish at the end of December and transport chiefs must now decide whether they will enforce the 50mph limit fulltime or if they should scrap it in favour of a return to the 60mph limit.
The report on the trial period, which was released yesterday and is due to be considered by Suffolk County Council's rights of way committee on October 20, shows that the number of injury accidents on the road is the lowest in the last six years.
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Between June 2004 and June 2005 there were just nine “slight” accidents on stretches of the A140 where the restrictions are in place.
This compares to an average of two “serious” accidents and 10 “minor” accidents between 1999 and 2004, including a fatality in 2002.
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However the report also shows that 79% of the 348 people who contacted Suffolk County Council during the trial period do not want to see the speed restrictions made permanent.
In total the authority received 274 objections from road users and parish councils who objected to the 50mph limit being enforced full-time.
Last night Jennifer Vaudrey, chairman of Thornham Magna Parish Meeting, told the EADT: “Everyone agrees that something has to be done and that it is a very difficult road to manage but we do not necessarily think a 50mph speed limit is the answer.
“Our main concern is that people see the slower limit on the A140 and leave the road to speed off through other villages to avoid it. The number of speeding vehicles through our village has increased since the trial period which is obviously very dangerous for residents.”
Other parish councils to raise objections include Palgrave and Mellis. The most popular reasons for doing so were because the 50mph limit led to more frustration, increased overtaking, longer journey times, loss of concentration because motorists were focused more on signs and speedometers rather than the road, more bunching of traffic and difficulty at joining at junctions and cross roads.
Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for road and transport, said the authority was still open-minded about the issue.
“The majority of people accept that it should be made a better road and that something has to be done,” he said. “However I can honestly say that we are keeping an open mind on the whole issue. I have no idea what decision will be made.
“I use the road every day when travelling to Ipswich and there used to be a time when it was carnage, with a tremendous amount of deaths that were very, very disturbing so it is encouraging that accident figures are down.
“There are still a number of issues we have to look at. We gave extensive publicity to the consultation period so it is only right for people to raise objections if they have concerns.”
The report is due to be considered by the rights of way committee at Suffolk County Council on October 20. The cabinet will consider the committee's recommendations at a meeting on December 8.