Motorists' dismay at roadworks delay

FRUSTRATED motorists whose journeys to work have been “unnecessarily disrupted” by a safety improvement scheme they say has “dragged on and on” have appealed to traffic chiefs to finally complete the work.

FRUSTRATED motorists whose journeys to work have been “unnecessarily disrupted” by a safety improvement scheme they say has “dragged on and on” have appealed to traffic chiefs to finally complete the work.

Drivers say delays and tailbacks caused by the £10million project on the A14 at the Rookery Crossroads have gone on too long and urged that quick progress is now made to clear the route of cones, contractors and speed restrictions.

Work on the long-awaited scheme at Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds, began in November 2004 and has, at times, seen the busy trunk road reduced to just one lane. Speed restrictions have been in place since bulldozers moved on to the site, although enforcement cameras have now been removed.

Officials from the Highways Agency say the temporary limits will remain until vital safety barrier and finishing off work is completed, but those using the road insist their patience has now run out.

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“I don't understand what the problem is. It seems like the work is pretty much done, but there are still cones and restrictions on the road on a daily basis which create delays and annoyance for drivers,” said one commuter, who did not wish to be named.

“I use that route daily and the jams and tailbacks have been going on for months. I wasn't too bothered at first because the road did need improving and a bit of inconvenience seemed like a price worth paying.

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“But now it seems to have dragged on and on past the original completion date. It is so frustrating knowing that your journey to and from work every day will probably be unnecessarily disrupted.

“The 40mph speed limit is still in place as well, although the cameras have gone so there is no way of enforcing the law. As a result you get an uneasy mix of drivers going at 70mph and above while others pootle along at 40mph which, to me, seems dangerous. The whole situation is a mess and needs sorting out as quickly as possible.”

The project won funding after 18 people were killed or injured on the stretch of road in just six years. Since construction began, three central reservation gaps, where visibility for drivers was poor, have been closed.

A two-level junction has been introduced to improve safety, while a section of roadway around one mile long has been straightened.

“It is almost as if this work has been going on forever,” said Sam Richardson, who travels the route on a daily basis. “The 40mph speed limit is still in place, but there doesn't seem any reason for it as there are very few workmen visible along the route. The Highways Agency seems to be dragging its feet.”

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said contractors were completing “soiling and seeding” work in the verges, installing central safety barriers and digging up the old A14 roadway and removing it from site.

“Contractors are working on a live carriageway and have kept it open for the majority of the scheme to minimise disruption,” she said. “The speed restrictions are remaining in place for the safety of both drivers and motorists.

“The contractors have been working really hard to get the work finished as soon as possible. In the meantime, we would advise motorists to drive safely and be patient.”

The spokesman said the work should be finished completely by mid February.

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