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Reader letter: Why were we given just three days’ notice of A14 closures?

PUBLISHED: 12:43 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:46 11 August 2020

The A14 near Trimley Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The A14 near Trimley Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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Trimley resident Nigel Pickover asks why residents were given limited notice of weeknight closures of the A14.

Sir, – Many questions remain unanswered after Highways England gave Suffolk people just THREE days notice of 24 weeks of closures on the A14.

Until the end of January communities in Felixstowe, Walton and the twin Domesday Book villages of Trimley will see thundering container trucks travel through sections of their joint High Road for eight hours every weeknight.

The communities have accepted the trucks for decades now - on the A14 which was heralded as a road for the future - a dual carriageway to take container traffic straight to the Port of Felixstowe.

Highways England bleat that the A14 in the affected area “isn’t wide enough” for a contra-flow system which would allow work to happen on one carriageway with the other used for trucks. The A14 is designated one of the country’s ‘roads of national economic’ importance.

So how on earth was it built too narrow for use as a contra-flow?

Was this an almighty blunder and, if so, by whom?

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And, why, in half a year of roadworks, can’t the road be widened just enough to conquer the problem for good?

The decision not to tell communities until three days before the trucks invasion began to roll is woeful - the Highways England response risible.

A spokesperson said notices of the work were available on parish council websites.

With respect to the dedicated parish councils concerned, I know from experience these sites are not a hotbed of news, rich content or avid web visitors. I’m sure councillors would be dancing around imaginary village maypoles if their viewing figures ever topped just 100 visits a day.

So when did HE issue a press release telling media outlets about this huge disruption to Suffolk lives? Did the agency advertise the 24-week programme in local newspapers? Did it inform MP Therese Coffey so she could post it on her website and to her 24,500 Twitter followers?

And why were details of this high-impact, six-month-long, programme of work, not given to householders until shortly before it began? It smacks of keeping details hidden until the last possible minute to prevent legitimate protest.

NIGEL PICKOVER,

Trimley.


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