A14 roadworks drive traders round the bends

TRADERS say delays completing the multi-million pound A14 Haughley bends roadworks in Suffolk are leaving their shops deserted.

John Howard

TRADERS say delays completing the multi-million pound A14 Haughley bends roadworks in Suffolk are leaving their shops deserted.

The A14 Haughley New Street to Stowmarket improvements have long been welcomed by campaigners as a chance to straighten the notorious stretch of road which has been an accident blackspot and claimed lives.

But the final stages are still not complete and a major exit road off the A14 near Haughley into Stowmarket currently remains a cul-de-sac - with businesses by the side of the road left without any passing trade until work is complete.

Anyone who ventures down the route is confronted by an array of signs and bollards, and traders say some days they do not see any customers at all, which they can ill afford in the current economic climate.

At the family run garden centre Nareys, owner David Narey said: “How long will this take to finish?

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“This needs to be completed and has been going on for months and months. People are saying they cannot find us, or have to struggle through despite everything. Numbers are down here.”

At Manorash Kitchens, staff said the road had been closed to through traffic since July and they were now getting just four customers a week.

Partner Lee Hobdell said: “We have the credit crunch and now this road. This is just going on and on and you get different stories about when it will be completed. If we knew a definite date we could plan, but this is a nightmare.”

And at The Suffolk Diner a spokesman said their business had suffered, with staff laid off. He felt traders should receive a compensation package.

Mike Povey, project manager for the work, said he regretted that they could not open the road for through traffic at this stage, but insisted the work is on schedule.

He said: “Unfortunately the only way to complete the work safely is to keep this road closed for the present. Access to the businesses is being maintained throughout the work and extensive temporary signing is being provided. The project is running to schedule and is on target to be complete in December as planned.”