Traffic-choked towns demand bypasses

CAMPAIGNERS last night renewed calls for relief roads to end jams on two of the region's most traffic-clogged routes.

Laurence Cawley

CAMPAIGNERS last night renewed calls for relief roads to end jams on two of the region's most traffic-clogged routes.

Community leaders in Mildenhall and Sudbury say their lives are blighted by congestion misery which will only be eased with the construction of bypasses which have been called for in both towns for decades.

Residents in Mildenhall have voiced fears that a new bypass will be ignored in the £127million plan to fully dual the A11 while Sudbury's MP used yesterday's visit of Transport Minister Paul Clark to Suffolk to renew his town's claims for a relief road.

Earlier this week, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon confirmed crucial improvement work to dual the last remaining single-carriageway stretch of the A11 - between Fiveways roundabout and Thetford - would start 18 months earlier than expected.

Delighted campaigners welcomed the news but it was also met with some concern in Mildenhall and the surrounding areas about a major increase in traffic passing through the already congested Fiveways junction.

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Tim Huggan, Forest Heath District Council member for Barton Mills, called on highways chiefs to include a new bypass in the A11 scheme which would have a feeder road off the Fiveways junction in order to alleviate congestion.

He urged road bosses to include the scheme immediately - claiming it would be too costly to carry out at a later date.

“I am not against the dual carriageway at all, but the roundabout will become ever more dangerous and ever more busy,” said Mr Huggan, who claimed he had spoken to a number of Mildenhall residents concerned about the future of the junction.

“Local people are going to be the most severely affected. For the people in the locality the dualling isn't going to be the blessing that everybody thinks it will. What I would like to see is a junction (from the A11) that feeds into the Fiveways junction.”

Yesterday, the Highways Agency published draft compulsory purchase orders which will give the Secretary of State the power to buy up any land needed to carry out the project.

An agency spokesman said: “There will be a series of exhibitions where the council and members of the public will have the opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the proposals.”

Meanwhile, renewed calls were made in Sudbury yesterday as Transport Minister Paul Clark met Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council transport portfolio holder.

Tim Yeo, South Suffolk MP, used the visit to call on Mr Clark to support plans for a Sudbury bypass. Mr Yeo said: “I am delighted Guy McGregor and Suffolk County Council continue to actively support the proposal to build a western bypass for Sudbury.

“I have been campaigning for 20 years now for a Sudbury bypass in which time the need to relieve this attractive market town of traffic, especially from heavy goods vehicles, has only increased further.”

Mr McGregor said: “I very forcibly drew the minister's attention to the Sudbury bypass and will continue to press the case. I want the people of Sudbury to know that Suffolk County Council is absolutely behind them.”