New call for A14 improvements
SIXTEEN people a month are injured in accidents on the A14 between Cambridge and Felixstowe, new figures have revealed.The alarming statistics were revealed by the Highways Agency as haulage bosses made urgent calls for the road to be improved to motorway standard.
SIXTEEN people a month are injured in accidents on the A14 between Cambridge and Felixstowe, new figures have revealed.
The alarming statistics were revealed by the Highways Agency as haulage bosses made urgent calls for the road to be improved to motorway standard.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said the road looked like "the largest car park in East Anglia" during rush hour.
Recent roadworks on the Orwell Bridge stretch of the A14 and a spate of accidents have caused traffic chaos in the surrounding area, sparking fury from motorists and business leaders.
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In 2004, there were 193 accidents causing injuries on the A14 from the Cambridge Girton Interchange to Felixstowe, including eight fatal and 23 serious injuries. Five people died on the Suffolk stretch.
That showed a rise from 174 crashes in 2003, when five people died on the stretch – including three in Suffolk – and 19 suffered serious injuries.
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Over the past three years, there have been an average of 140 accidents on the road in Suffolk.
Louisa Bellee, FTA regional policy manager, said: "The A14 is by far the most congested road in East Anglia and something has to be done.
"There is congestion on the route every day of the week, while during rush hour the A14 looks more like the largest car park in East Anglia than a road.
"The A14 also has a poor safety record and unless any action is taken this will continue.
"The reason for the high accident rate is purely down to the design of the road. There are 27 junctions in 23 miles of road with many having low standard slip roads."
She added: "The answer is to upgrade the A14 to motorway standard, introducing three lanes in both directions from the M11 to at least Huntingdon.
"FTA members have identified the A14 as the key trade route for the east of England – and as such the FTA will continue to concentrate on lobbying to get the upgrade that is desperately needed."
The Highways Agency said the average daily traffic flow on the A14 was 54,000 vehicles at Baylham, 52,500 at Sproughton, 60,000 east of the Orwell Bridge and 37,200 at Trimley Heath.
A spokesman said: "The Highways Agency is planning a number of major improvements along the route, as well as its ongoing work to manage and maintain the road.
"Major improvements are already taking place at Rookery Crossroads, near Bury St Edmunds and a multi-million pound reconstruction of M1 junction 19 to provide direct free-flowing links between the A14 and the M1 and M6.
"Other improvements are planned at Haughley in Suffolk and for the length of road between Ellington and Fen Ditton in Cambridgeshire.
"In the short term, measures to improve traffic signing and white lining have been carried out, improved traffic signals and improvements to laybys are also planned."
He said an A14 forum was being set in Suffolk, consisting of bodies including the police, local authorities and FTA, and added: "Accident data for the A14 in Suffolk for the period 2002 to 2004 inclusive records an average of 140 personal injury accidents per year.
"Whilst the number of accidents is relatively high, the average accident rate is below the national average for a similar dual carriageway."