Summit to tackle A14 congestion

By Graham DinesPolitical EditorTOP-LEVEL talks are being held today to try to solve the gridlock in Ipswich when there are repairs to the Orwell Bridge and accidents on the A14.

By Graham Dines

Political Editor

TOP-LEVEL talks are being held today to try to solve the gridlock in Ipswich when there are repairs to the Orwell Bridge and accidents on the A14.

County council leaders will be asking the Highways Agency and Suffolk police to explore their suggestion that, in problems in peak periods, lorries heading to and from the Port of Felixstowe should be forced to park up to ease congestion.

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Guy McGregor, the council's cabinet's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said it was vital to stop Ipswich “seizing up” when there were either major repairs to the bridge or accidents on the A14.

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“We cannot have the economy of Suffolk's county town damaged by traffic being snarled up and brought to a standstill,” he added.

“We need solutions. My concern is that the A14 is one of the principal trunk roads in England and it is managed as a regional asset, with no thought given on how to cope with local problems on the route.”

The county council's new Conservative administration is looking at resurrecting the northern bypass to Ipswich and is committed to trying to relieve towns and villages in Suffolk of through traffic.

“I have not ruled out a northern bypass and have asked officers to do preliminary desk-top work. But we have to be quite frank and say that without Government support, these and other projects cannot be financed,” said Mr McGregor.

The Concservatives have accepted a list of schemes adopted by the outgoing Labour-Liberal Democrat administration.

These include a sustainable transport scheme for Ipswich, a bypass for Brandon, the north Lowestoft access project, the A12 four villages bypass for Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Marlesford and Little Glemham, and the Barnby to Carlton Colville bypass.

All are subject to Government financial approval in the 2006-2011 Local Transport Plan. Additionally, the county council is keen to support relief schemes for Beccles, Bungay, Stonham on the A140, and Great Barton.

“However, the Government is taking a regional approach to transport, which means Suffolk has to compete with schemes such as improved rail links from Luton and Bedford to London,” said Mr McGregor.

“In a Parliamentary answer, Suffolk MP Bob Blizzard was told the county's roads were 'quaint'. With attitudes like that at Westminster, our county is bound to suffer.”

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