Pledge to tackle A14 congestion

By Danielle NuttallROAD bosses have identified a series of improvements that are needed to better manage traffic using the A14 following major accidents.

By Danielle Nuttall

ROAD bosses have identified a series of improvements that are needed to better manage traffic using the A14 following major accidents.

Representatives from Suffolk police, Suffolk County Council and the Highways Agency met yesterday to look at possible action to alleviate problems along the road.

The meeting was called after a combination of roadworks on the Orwell Bridge and accidents on the A14 caused traffic gridlock in Ipswich as drivers headed through the town to avoid the congestion.

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It considered whether lorries could be temporarily parked up when there were accidents on the A14 to avoid them using inappropriate minor roads, but Guy McGregor, the council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said there were difficulties with this idea.

Plans were also discussed to improve the way and the speed with which information was given to the public about hold-ups on the A14. There are presently proposals for a control centre to co-ordinate responses to motorway accidents.

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Mr McGregor said the summit had discussed whether diversion routes could be used more efficiently.

“We are looking at how we can resolve the position locally in the immediate future. This could involve variable signing and signing alternative roads,” he said.

Mr McGregor added motorists using the A12 and A14 would notice a better response to incidents by next year.

He said: “It was useful to have the ministry of transport here in Suffolk and face to face express our particular problems. We realise the issues in Ipswich and traffic round here is not horrendous compared to other parts of the country, but it is a problem to people here.”

Among those at the meeting was Peter Worobec, temporary Assistant Suffolk Chief Constable, John Pearman, regional divisional director of the Highways Agency, and Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council.

Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council who was also present, said: “This was a very positive and constructive meeting.

“We all appreciate that there are no quick fixes and have agreed to work together to find practical solutions to bring improvements to the county's economy, health and reputation.”

An officer working party is to look at the issue over the next few months and will report back to another high-profile meeting in March.

n There was good news for motorists last night after it was revealed inspection work on the Orwell Bridge had been completed almost two weeks ahead of schedule.

All traffic management measures, including the 40mph speed restrictions, were due to be lifted on the eastbound carriageway this morning and on the A14 westbound carriageway by 5am tomorrow .

Brian Pitkin, Highways Agency project manager, said: “This is good news for all road users. Hard work and good weather have both played key roles in completing the Principal Inspection on the A14 Orwell Bridge early.

“During the inspection no major problems have been identified. Any remedial work identified will be programmed for the next financial year.

“I would like to thank road users for their patience over the past few weeks and to thank the inspection team and our consultants for their hard work during the inspection.”

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