‘Get on with it and get off the highway’ - Suffolk highways insists single lane option for Woods Lane was not possible

Suffolk highways says a single lane option for Woods Lane would not have worked. Picture: GREGG BROW

Suffolk highways says a single lane option for Woods Lane would not have worked. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Highways bosses have insisted their refusal to keep a single lane open during a long-running east Suffolk road closure was in the interests of safety and a speedy resolution.

Suffolk County Council made the comments after Bloor Homes said it had declined its request for “single lane traffic” in Woods Lane, Melton.

The closure has been controversial with complaints of traffic gridlock, accidents and loss of income for businesses.

After the first phase of closure in November was met with fierce opposition, Bloor agreed to consult on extended working hours to bring a quicker end to phase two, which was scheduled to last from January 8-April 13.

The consultation showed support for extended working, which was adopted. This week Bloor said it was “extremely optimistic” phase two would be completed by “mid March”.

Bloor also apologised for the disruption and said it highlighted that businesses remained open.

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The developer’s comments about its request for single lane traffic being declined by SCC, however, led to criticism.

Melton resident Allan Cole said the proposal would have been a “very welcome respite” to the “long suffering this closure has and is causing”. “Yet another example of apparent highways decision making madness in our currently blighted county,” he added.

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Melton parish councillor Buffy Barrington also said she thought the single lane could have helped.

“Frankly, I can’t understand how highways think the congestion could get any worse,” she added.

However parish chairman Alan Porter said he thought single lane “would have been just as bad” and also brought safety concerns.

“Probably better with total closure,” he added.

An SCC spokesman said it met with Bloor to discuss the one lane proposal with traffic lights. “After thorough investigation however, it was agreed that the trucks, diggers and tarmac lorry needed to complete the work wouldn’t leave enough space for a lane of traffic - and any attempt to do so would be dangerous for road users,” he added. “Our advice was therefore for Bloor Homes to get on with it and get off the highway.”

SCC has been inspecting the site twice a day to ensure work is completed in good time. It also organised the public meeting at which the extended hours consultation was agreed.

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