'More must be spent on A140'
ROAD bosses have been accused of penny-pinching in the management of one of the region's most important routes.The A140 Campaign claims Suffolk County Council has taken the “cheap” option in maintaining the road linking Ipswich and Norwich.
ROAD bosses have been accused of penny-pinching in the management of one of the region's most important routes.
The A140 Campaign claims Suffolk County Council has taken the “cheap” option in maintaining the road linking Ipswich and Norwich.
The authority recently cut speed limits on the stretch in a bid to improve its accident record.
But the campaigners say this demonstrates the council's reluctance to invest in the route, in contrast to the policy in Norfolk.
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David Bramhall, one of the activists, claimed the county council had focused on the “sweeping and cheap” system of speed limits, rather than spending money on major improvements.
He said: “We believe Suffolk County Council is not doing enough to make it safer. The road passes through several villages and increasing levels of traffic are blighting the lives of those who live there.
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“There has been no significant alteration to the road for very many years. While the authorities in Norfolk have built bypasses and carried out other major improvements to their part of the road, all Suffolk has done is tinker with speed limits.
“The A140 Campaign calls on the county council to make a serious and responsible effort to provide us with a road which is suitable for its purpose, which does not make our day-to-day lives a misery and which allows us to go about our daily business in safety.”
While recognising the prospects of building a new bypass are remote, the campaigners say other more affordable changes could still be made.
These include closing minor road junctions, remodelling existing junctions and installing rumble strips on routes leading to the A140.
The group also believes spacious lay-bys should be established to allow slower vehicles to pull over, minimising the need for vehicles to overtake.
A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said it was committed to making the road safer and highlighted recent changes to the Coddenham junction of the road.
She said a bypass or major road engineering works are unlikely at this time, adding “competing interests” have to balanced before investing in the county's roads.
She said: “For the A140 we have developed a route management strategy in consultation with local residents, which we are now carrying out. This does involve some physical improvements to the road, as well as the 50mph speed limits the council recently decided to make permanent.
“These changes have been made while working together with Norfolk County Council to coordinate approaches to safety. Both councils are clear that there are important differences to the context of the road along its length.”
She added the council welcomes feedback and will soon be consulting on plans to reduce the number of different speed zones along the route.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said it was currently planning more improvements.
He said: “While we haven't carried out any major safety improvement work on the A140 since it was de-trunked in 2001, we do have a major improvement programme which includes the Long Stratton bypass, subject to funding.
“While the accident rate is below average for an A class road, we are never complacent and continue to monitor the situation.
“We are always looking at ways of further reducing the casualty figures."
Since 1987 there have been 57 fatal crashes on the Suffolk stretch of the road, compared to 22 in Norfolk during the same period.