Traffic lights planned for Bell Lane and Foxhall Road junction in Kesgrave
PUBLISHED: 18:04 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:04 12 June 2019
Traffic lights are being planned as part of urgent safety improvements at a dangerous junction near Kesgrave - just days after a fatal crash.
The Foxhall Road junctions with Bell Lane and Dobbs Lane will each get a set of traffic lights installed to manage traffic flow and help prevent accidents, if backing is given by all parties.
The Bell Lane junction in particular has been considered a dangerous turning by those living nearby for years, and has claimed more than one life in the last 12 years.
It is understood that the developers behind the 2,000 homes at Brightwell Lakes will be funding them to the tune of £100,000 as part of infrastructure agreements.
The plans were mentioned during Tuesday's Suffolk County Council development and regulation committee, as part of a discussion on reducing speed limits for that section of the A12.
A spokesman from East Suffolk Council said: "The recent tragic death of the motorcyclist at the Foxhall Road/Bell Lane junction has highlighted the dangers of this section of the road network.
"This is a well-known accident hotspot and the community has been asking for it to be improved for many years.
"We know the development at Brightwell Lakes will happen and, by funding the improvements in advance, it could allow the planned growth to be delivered safely and also bring benefits across the wider area at an earlier stage.
"However, I would stress this is just a suggestion, at this time, and discussions are at a very early stage.
"The project could only move forward with the agreement of the county council, as well as getting the backing of East Suffolk Council's cabinet."
As part of the package of speed limit changes, Foxhall Road would become a maximum 50mph between the A12 roundabout and where it turns to a 30mph zone near Ipswich.
It is understood that East Suffolk Council will essentially put forward the cash, which will then be recouped from the Section 106 money paid by developers once work on the new homes begins.
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The plans have been welcomed by Daniel Smith, a 23-year-old van driver from Trimley St Mary, who was involved in a collision at the junction in April 2018.
"I was driving with my pregnant partner in our new car - it was particularly bad because the other car hit the passenger side of us, thankfully both she and the baby were okay.
"I was left with whiplash and what the doctors told me was 'chronic concussion'.
"It was scary; it took me about a month to get back to work in the van.
"In one direction on Foxhall Road it is a bit of a hidden junction but I 100% think traffic lights could help make a difference there."
Mary Evans, county council cabinet member for highways, said: "Suffolk County Council have obtained funding from Brightwell Lakes (Adastral Park) to upgrade the Bell Lane and Dobbs Lane junctions along Foxhall Road.
"The funding for £100,000 for each junction is to mitigate increases in traffic resulting from the development of 2,000 new homes on the Adastral site.
"We are currently looking at traffic modelling to establish the best design for these junctions. At the Bell Lane junction the most likely mitigation scheme is traffic signal control.
"The funding is due to be paid to SCC on the completion of 1,000 new homes, however I have asked officers to investigate urgently all other options to bring this improvement forward sooner, either funded by other development in the area, or other external funding opportunities."
Robert Whiting, county and district councillor for Kesgrave, said: "I discussed the issues relating to Foxhall Road and its junctions, with the leader and deputy leader at the beginning of this week and I am meeting with them again on Friday.
"I believe that it is vital that the improvements required along this critical corridor of the Foxhall Road are addressed as soon as possible.
"I am pressing for not only a significant speed reduction along this road but also material changes to these junctions.
"Concerning the Bell Lane junction, I will not be happy with anything less than the installation of traffic lights.
"I want to see these changes implemented before a single new house is occupied on Brightwell Lakes and I will do my best to ensure that this is the case. Any further delay in making this road safer for all users, will be totally unacceptable to me."