Safety work to start on notorious road

By Dave GooderhamDETERMINED campaigners who have called for much-needed road improvements to a notorious crossroads have finally seen details of a £10million safety scheme.

By Dave Gooderham

DETERMINED campaigners who have called for much-needed road improvements to a notorious crossroads have finally seen details of a £10million safety scheme.

Concerned councillors and residents had the opportunity to view the construction programme and traffic management project for the A14 Rookery Crossroads in Rougham at an exhibition on Saturday before work on the begins next week.

The public exhibition also gave visitors the opportunity to question highways bosses, who reassured motorists that rush-hour traffic would be kept moving throughout the 15-month scheme at the site where 18 people have been killed or seriously hurt in the past six years.

Rougham Parish Council chairman and borough councillor, Sara Mildmay-White, said: "I think the plans are excellent and local people are very pleased.

"The final designs show a very economical use of the land and in the longer term I think we will have a safer entrance and exit into the village at long last.

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"But access into the village while the work is going on could be more difficult. There are diversions through Beyton, but I think many people will use single-track back roads, which will put an awful lot of pressure on them."

The £10.18m scheme will see the existing crossroads replaced with a new two-level junction carrying the A14 across local roads.

It also includes the closure of the central reservation gap crossing and junction at Two Mile Spinney and the realignment of about one mile of existing A14.

The exhibition also showed how traffic might be affected on the A14 during the work while representatives from the Highways Agency, site agents and the scheme contractor were also on hand to answer questions.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "The aim is to keep two lanes of traffic open in each direction at busy periods that will generally be during the day and particularly for both rush hours. "There will be occasional reductions in lanes at night and at certain times during weekends, but two lanes will run in each direction during the day, including at peak hours."

Transport minister David Jamieson welcomed the improvements to the site and said he was confident they would cut the number of accidents there.

"I am delighted that work will start in earnest next week on this much-needed improvement. It will provide safer access to and from the A14 and remove the risk of accidents associated with turning and crossing the A14 by closing the central reservation gaps," he added.

"The Government is committed to cutting the number of accidents on the road network and this scheme aims to do just that."

To ensure road workers are protected during the construction period, there will be narrow lanes and a 40mph speed restriction on the A14 near Bury St Edmunds from November 8.

Motorists have also been warned that contractors might close one lane of the A14 to carry out work if traffic is light and there will be occasional overnight and weekend closures.