Fresh calls for A14 upgrade
PUBLISHED: 15:50 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:50 03 September 2019
Fresh funding being made available for UK ports to upgrade their road and rail links has reignited calls for investment in the A14 in Suffolk.
The Department for Transport announced a £10million pot which UK ports could bid for a share of, in order to make improvements to be spent on port road and rail infrastructure.
The No More A14 Delays campaign, led by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, has been calling for investment in seven pinch points along the A14 in Suffolk, and said the government's recognition that road and rail infrastructure was vital for trade added weight to its cause.
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, said: "This funding, albeit a comparatively small amount in the wider scheme of things, acknowledges the vital importance of having the most up-to-date infrastructure to facilitate the movement of goods into and out of the country's main ports post-Brexit.
"This adds weight to the already compelling case presented by Suffolk Chamber-led campaign to secure £150m of upgrades to this highway to address seven major pinch points along the Suffolk stretch."
Mr Dugmore said research indicated that the investment would generate a payback ten times greater than the initial sum in reduced delays and journey times, and pointed to the Port of Felixstowe's role in conveying 41% of all UK container traffic.
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Suffolk County Council has also backed a cash injection into A14 improvements, and vowed to continue lobbying government for investment.
Cabinet member for highways Mary Evans said: "Improvement to the road and rail network is one of our key priorities.
"However, this improvement, which is essential for Suffolk business growth worldwide, can only be achieved by better investment in these transport links.
"Having an asset like the Port of Felixstowe is a huge boost to the Suffolk economy, but this comes with its own challenges that needs significant funding to mitigate.
"The A14 corridor especially needs to be upgraded significantly along its route, including the Orwell Bridge - we cannot continue to see the disruption caused to our county town whenever the A14 is closed or blocked."
A DfT spokeswoman said: "We are making a major investment in improving roads in the East, including the £1.5bn upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
"This will deliver economic growth right across the region, providing a vital link between the Port of Felixstowe and England's manufacturers and businesses.
"We continue to consider proposals for future enhancements."