Part-time traffic lights considered for A12 improvements east of Seven Hills

Traffic is slow in Potters Bar thanks to a problem with traffic light signals.

Suffolk County Council said it is keen to explore ‘part-time’ signals to control traffic flows at peak-times - Credit: HARRY RUTTER

Traffic lights planned to the A12 east of Ipswich as part of £53million upgrades might only be used at peak times, as highways experts explore using ‘part-time’ signals.

Suffolk County Council gathered more than 700 responses to a consultation which proposed adding traffic lights to all junctions between Seven Hills and Woods Lane, in Melton, except for the Seckford roundabout.

Road planners have said they are now keen to explore ‘part-time’ signals to control traffic flows at peak-times at the Seven Hills, Foxhall, Barrack Square and Anson Road roundabouts.

The A1214 junction already has lights, while the Seckford and Dobbies roundabouts are not planned to have signals.

Other plans include the replacement of the footbridge in Martlesham, with the addition of another close to the Brightwell Lakes development; a bus-only slip between the A12 and A1214; a free-flow offslip at the Seven Hills junction  from Felixstowe, and the potential enlarging of the Adastral Park roundabout to make Gloster Road its own exit.

A12 improvements

The planned A12 improvements between the Seven Hills and Woods Lane, Melton, junctions - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Elsewhere, plans include traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing at the Anson Road mini-roundabout; increased and widened lanes at the Anson Road junction; a segregated free-flow lane at the Seckford junction northbound, and a segregated pedestrian and cycle path between the Dobbies and Seckford roundabouts.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet is set to agree to put in an outline business case with a financial ask of the Department for Transport on November 9.

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Development of plans will then take place over 12 months, with another public consultation likely next autumn, ahead of a final business case.

If approved, the two-year construction period is likely to start mid-to-late 2023.

Richard Smith, Conservative cabinet member for economic development, transport strategy and waste, said: “If we did nothing we know that the traffic would get much worse, so the kind of things we are planning to do will keep the traffic moving and will give positive improvements with a new section of dual carriageway."

Richard Smith

Conservative cabinet member for economic development, strategic highways, transport and waste at Suffolk County Council, Richard Smith - Credit: Suffolk County Council

If approved, the scheme would require around 15% of funding to come from local sources – about £8m – which could include housing developer contributions or the county council’s capital budget. 

Keith Welham, transport spokesman from the opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said investment needed to shift more towards cycling, bus and pedestrian provision, while Woodbridge councillor Caroline Page said she could not see how proposals did anything concrete to improve services for bus users.

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