Cries for A14 upgrade grow as MPs demand £150million to fix 7 ‘pinch points’
Rallying calls for an upgrade to Suffolk’s notorious A14 have grown after MPs wrote a letter demanding £150million to fix seven key “pinch points” along the route.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to invest billions of pounds in infrastructure projects to get the country moving again after the coronavirus crisis.
MPs in Suffolk believe the A14, which runs from Felixstowe to Cambridge, is a key gateway between the county and the Midlands, as well as the north of England.
They have described it was “Britain’s premier trade route”, with 41% of all containers - 4million - arriving at Felixstowe going on to other regions.
However, they say the road is “currently not fit for purpose”, because it is “heavily congested” with regular delays.
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Suffolk MPs had already written to chancellor Rishi Sunak about the issue, with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Dugmore adding to their calls this week.
However, MPs have now taken up the case with transport secretary Grant Shapps, asking for £150m to upgrade seven key junctions across the county - including the notorious Copdock interchange.
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They believe it could provide a £1.5billion uplift to the UK economy.
Commenting on the letter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said: “Whilst we entirely agree with the government’s commitment to rebalance the UK economy away from London and the Home Counties, Suffolk and its A14 are the conduit to the Midlands and the North.
“It’s imperative that we are not left behind and the proposed A14 scheme would improve east-west connections, as well as providing huge economic benefits for Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.
“It is essential that we keep pressing the importance of this issue and that we keep the A14 firmly in the government’s mind. Ministers are aware of the need to improve the A14 and I hope that collectively, we can secure investment in this round of infrastructure spending.”
Mr Dugmore said earlier this week: “’Build, build, build’ is a good headline, but unless the A14 in Suffolk – Britain’s premier trade route, is specifically upgraded to support the country’s international trade push, then UK exporters and importers will be left disappointed by the government’s rationale.
“Linking the Port of Felixstowe to the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, the A14 in Suffolk is the equivalent of a country track – and not fit for the UK’s free trade future.”
“Unless this spending is brought forward to the present day and other junctions included, it will be a wasted opportunity and the question will be asked: ‘When? When? When?’”