'Heart-breaking' and 'a slippery mudbath' - traffic damages Hemingstone road

Church Lane in Hemingstone. Picture: Danielle Booden

Church Lane in Hemingstone. - Credit: Danielle Booden

There is a strong feeling of anger and frustration among residents of a Suffolk village after a normally quiet road became congested and damaged. 

Church Lane is a single-track road, and has been used by many as an unofficial diversion after the parallel Lower Road was closed to allow drainage improvements to be made. 

Broken down verges have caused the road to become muddy. Picture: Danielle Booden

Broken down verges have caused the road to become muddy. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The subsequent high-volume of traffic has caused much damage to the verges and passing places, with residents voicing concerns that the road has now become unsafe. 

John Self, 36, said “It looks like some of the passing places are starting to break up that are over the ditches, so very soon they are going to be too small for vehicles to get into anyway so that will make it completely one-track.” 

The verges of Church Lane are being broken down by traffic

The verges of Church Lane have been churned up by traffic - Credit: John Self

He also expressed concerns at the national speed limit in place. 

He said: “Because it’s now muddy, you just have to sit in our living room and every 10-15 minutes you hear the lock-up of wheels and think, is this going to be the one that has a crash?” 

Church Lane is a single-track road with passing places. Picture: Danielle Booden

Church Lane is a single-track road with passing places. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Other residents are also unhappy with the situation. 

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Acting clerk and councillor of Hemingstone Parish Council, Dave Penny described the situation as “heart-breaking” and “not acceptable.” 

“The road itself is a slippery mudbath, dangerous for cyclists such as myself, but also other road users," he said.

"Going forwards, I'm assuming Highways will be making good the damage caused at the very least before moving on."

He voiced frustration that measures such as a one-way system had not been put in place.

“My fears are that an unintended consequence of Highways' lack of foresight is that a new rat run possibility will have been flagged up to hundreds of drivers.” 

Suffolk County Council said: “To allow the drainage improvements to take place safely, it has been essential for the road closure to be in place. The official diversion route is signed, unfortunately we are unable to stop vehicles from using local roads as an alternative route. Our teams have since put in place; ‘Unsuitable diversion route’ signs to prevent road users from using Church Lane.   

“Phase 1 of the works has been extended to Tuesday 14 December 2021. Lower Road will be re-open this weekend, with temporary traffic signals being put in place. The road will be closed again on Monday and Tuesday to allow the works to be completed.  

“Please be advised that the end date is dependent on weather conditions.”