Road schemes 'could face more delays'

CAMPAIGNERS for long-awaited road schemes in Suffolk and Essex might have to wait for at least another 10 years, it has been warned.

Russell Claydon

CAMPAIGNERS for long-awaited road transport schemes in Suffolk and Essex might have to wait for at least another 10 years, it has been warned.

A lack of Government funding will result in only a small number of new transport schemes getting the go-ahead over the next decade, the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) has said.

It means decisions on relief roads to relieve congestion in traffic clogged towns in the two counties could be put on hold for years to come.

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Bypasses in Brandon, Sudbury and the A12 four villages (Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham) bypass - were all due to get a decision from the Government in the five-year period from 2013-14.

But they will now have to battle it out with other schemes to avoid being put back to at least 2018-19.

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In Essex, a series of measures to relieve congestion in Colchester, including a £6.4million park and ride scheme and £19.9m improvements to the A133, were due to get decisions within the next five years. And work to dual the A120 from Braintree to the A12 could now have to wait five years longer - until after 2018-19 - along with extra capacity improvements to the A12, for a decision.

Half of the £1.2 billion funding available from the Government for the next 10 years is already committed to 21 transport schemes, including a £127m scheme to fully dual the A11, and in the next five years 35 transport schemes from the region, costing around £900 million, are chasing a pot of only £80m.

Other schemes which will have to battle it out for funding include relief roads for the Stonhams, Bungay and a Lowestoft third river crossing.

Assembly members will meet in Norwich at the end of January to prioritise the schemes before submitting their recommendations to the Government, who will make the final decision.

John Reynolds, EERA Chairman said: “Whilst we are pleased to give our advice, we are disappointed that recent Government announcements have not significantly increased the funding pot for transport in the region.

“We need to make best use of this limited money but there will be tough choices ahead.”

Colin Spence, Conservative councillor for Sudbury East and Waldingfield, said: “The frustration of everybody locally is that they want something done with the traffic management through the town because it is damaging the town and the environment.

“To be told there is little chance of the money being available in the next 10 years and more is extremely disappointing and shows a lack of commitment from the Government to address pressure of traffic in towns like Sudbury.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “Alongside the £1.2billion of Regional Funding Allocation, the Government has invested £598m in road and rail services in the region in 2007-8.

“In the last month the Government has given the go-ahead for work to start on the vital A11 Fiveways to Thetford dualling scheme 18 months earlier than planned as well as announcing an extra £60m to accelerate work on 54 miles of the A12 to improve safety, reduce delays and tackle congestion.”

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