New fund could see A14 between Copdock interchange and Orwell Bridge resurfaced
06:40 28 September 2015
A campaign to get a section of the A14 resurfaced to reduce the level of noise pollution to surrounding homes has been given a new glimpse of hope.
A meeting was held on Thursday between South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, parish councillors and Highways England to discuss the stretch of concrete road between the Copdock interchange and the Orwell Bridge.
It is an issue that has long blighted the lives of residents living in Belstead, Copdock, Pinewood and south-west Ipswich, it has been claimed.
Mr Cartlidge said the meeting went “better than expected”, with the Highways representatives revealing that a new fund had been set up specifically for noise reduction on roads, with one of the methods used to remedy this being resurfacing.
Until now, Highway England’s policy has been that it can not undertake resurfacing purely for noise reduction reasons.
Mr Cartlidge said he would to write to Highways England’s chief executive and the transport minister to find out when the funds would be available and how he could apply.
“It’s a big undertaking, but when there’s a funding stream for something you need you have to take the opportunity and try and make a case for it, and I don’t think there can be too many better cases out there,” he added.
On top of this, Mr Cartlidge said the Highways representatives had also revealed that there was a “reasonable possibility” that this section of the A14 would be tested next year for road quality.
“If you put all these things together it makes the case stronger,” the MP added. “No one expected them to turn up and say that’s fine we will resurface that section of the A14. It’s a massive undertaking but there were some positives that we can take away. They haven’t shut the door in our face, in fact they have shown a chink of light that there might be progress.”
A Highways England spokeswoman said the organisation was investing millions of pounds over the next five years to maintain and improve the existing road network across the East of England.
“Our maintenance programme prioritises schemes on a yearly basis and next year’s programme hasn’t been finalised as yet,” she added. “However, pavement testing on the A14 in Suffolk could be included and we will keep road users informed when a decision has been made.”
The spokeswoman said Highways England would look into the issues discussed in more detail and continue to explore possible solutions.
The A14 was built in the early 1980s and there was a programme of smoothing out which started in Great Blakenham and was supposed to run to the Orwell Bridge, due to be competed by 2010. However, the 2008 recession stunted the plans and has left that part of the road concrete.