Bridge cash cannot be used blackspot

HIGHWAYS chiefs today admitted they are preparing to build a £340,000 footbridge across the A14 – but said the cash could not be spent at the dock spur junction instead.

HIGHWAYS chiefs today admitted they are preparing to build a £340,000 footbridge across the A14 – but said the cash could not be spent at the dock spur junction instead.

Officials said the money came from a separate budget to help vulnerable road users – pedestrians and cyclists – and could not be used for other safety work.

Councillors have been outraged that the Highways Agency can spend so much money on a scheme to benefit so few people but ignore the need for major safety work at the deathtrap dock spur roundabout used by millions.

The irony is that the projected cost of the footbridge from Orwell Green, Felixstowe, to Clicketts Hill, Trimley St Mary, is exactly the same as that for work to solve the roundabout's lorry accident problems.


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But the agency has consistently ignored councillors' calls for more safety work and told them it has no cash for a major scheme at the roundabout.

A spokeswoman for the agency said a design for the footbridge was currently being prepared and a feasibility study and detailed costing carried out. The scheme was budgeted for 2004-2005 but that could change depending on costs.

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The scheme was aimed at helping pedestrians and cyclists to cross the A14 safely, where there is the route of an ancient footpath which currently goes across four lanes of fast-moving traffic.

It would help people wanting to walk their dogs and visit the countryside at Trimley, and in the future would provide access to employment areas when the 178-acre Trinity 2000 scheme is built.

The spokeswoman said: "The footbridge and work at the dock spur roundabout are different schemes for different aims and targeted at different groups of road users."

"Work at the dock spur is for motorists, HGVs and the haulage industry and the footbridge is for vulnerable users.

"We are not allowed to take money from one budget and give it to another – the budgets are completely separate."

Discussions over the footbridge began about four years ago between Bidwells, acting for Trinity College, and highways chiefs after ramblers asked for it.

At present walkers dice with death as they cross the A14 to reach the countryside. Residents in the area say few people use the path but believe more would cross and walk down to the nature reserve if the bridge was built.

n What do you think – is the footbridge a waste of money? Would you prefer to see the cash used on the dock spur roundabout instead? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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