A14 sites may see lorry overtaking ban trial

LORRIES may be banned from overtaking each other on the Orwell Bridge in a pilot project to improve road safety being considered by the Highways Agency.

Graham Dines

LORRIES may be banned from overtaking each other on the Orwell Bridge in a pilot project to improve road safety being considered by the Highways Agency.

It has responded swiftly to Suffolk pleas to extend an experiment currently by undertaken on the A14 in Northamptonshire by announcing it is looking at two sites.

This week's meeting of the county council cabinet voted to ask for the agency to look at both the A12 and A14 for possible lorry overtaking bans.

The Northamptonshire scheme is on lorries eastbound and westbound near the A14's junctions with the M1 and the M6. The Highways Agency released a statement yesterday, explaining these trials were on sections of road with steep inclines.

“Traffic congestion occurs when lorries attempt to overtake one another on the inclines, causing traffic to build up behind,” said a spokesman.

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“This is an early roll out of a technique which is in its infancy. In Suffolk, two sites are being considered for similar overtaking restrictions - on the A14 at Orwell Bridge and on the A14 at Bury St Edmunds.

“Both these sites have steep inclines which may make them suitable for a trial site, but they also have several junctions and accesses. This means traffic surveys have to be carried out to discover whether preventing lorries from overtaking could have the effect of making it impossible for drivers to enter or exit from slip roads.”

It is unlikely that the bans will be introduced in Suffolk until the next financial year at the earliest.

Guy McGregor, the county council's portfolio holder for transport - who earlier this week said there was “a groundswell of frustration” at the increase in the number of slow-moving lorries using the fast lane - welcomed the prospect of an experimental ban.

“Suffolk is working hard on improving road safety and we will be anxious to look the results from the pilot schemes.”

The A14 is a national trunk road and comes under the responsibility of the Department for Transport's highways agency.