Seven-month wait for �70m signs on A14

HIGHWAYS teams have revealed new advisory signs installed along the A14 will not be switched on until next May.

The electronic signs, which have been branded a waste of money by MPs, were erected along the length of the A14 from Felixstowe, through the heart of Suffolk to the A1(M) in Cambridgeshire over the past year.

Overnight closures were put in place between Ipswich and Felixstowe over the summer months to allow the columns to be winched into place, inconveniencing motorists.

The signs may now be in place but the Highways Agency yesterday admitted the project is not due for completion until May 2011.

A spokesman said: “Once the installation is complete we have to carry out tests, which will be done in stages, and then there is landscaping work to be done.”

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Once activated, the overhead signs will display information to drivers, including warnings of problems ahead, to keep traffic flowing.

They will also give estimated travel times to major towns along the route, based on the volume of traffic ahead.

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West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock and colleague Liz Truss, who represents South West Norfolk, are dubious about the benefits the signs will bring.

They would prefer to have seen the money spent on dualling the last single-carriageway section of the A11 between Norwich and the M11 in Essex.

Mr Hancock said: “The �70m that the signs will cost would pay for at least half of the A11 improvement, probably a higher proportion.

“This road would produce economic benefits 20 times greater than its cost – I can’t see that the installation of 72 new signs will have anything like that impact on the region.

“The signs were approved by the last Government and left as a legacy to the new administration. There is nothing that could be done about the scheme because it was already well underway when we took power – but it does make me very angry.”

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