Bridge idea not welcomed by all

HIGHWAYS chiefs refusing to carry out major safety work at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur junction are today considering spending £340,000 on a new A14 footbridge.

HIGHWAYS chiefs refusing to carry out major safety work at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur junction are today considering spending £340,000 on a new A14 footbridge.

Campaigners were astonished and outraged to hear that the bridge – to be built across the dual carriageway just half a mile away – will cost almost exactly the same as estimates for work to stop lorries overturning at the roundabout.

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

At the moment, the footbridge would be used by just a handful of dog walkers and ramblers to cross from Cavendish Park to the muddy fields of Clickett Hill.

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Town and district councillor Andy Smith today accused the agency of getting its priorities wrong.

"As much as a footbridge would be welcomed by the small number of local people who have occasion to use it, it does show that the Highways Agency has a very strange sense of priorities," he said.

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"For similar sums of money we were told two years ago the problem of lorries falling over at the dock spur could be solved.

"I think we need to question the Highways Agency's priorities, perceptions and ability to listen to local people.

"How can they be determined to ignore these lorry accidents – we have already had one fatality and a lorry turning over is now a regular occurrence – in favour of a footbridge, which is nowhere near as essential?"

Discussions over the footbridge, which would restore an ancient footpath from near Rendlesham Way to Clickett Hill began about four years ago between Bidwells, acting for Trinity College, and highways after ramblers asked for it.

At present walkers dice with death to cross four lanes of traffic to do the walk, which leads to countryside at Trimley. Residents in the area said today that few people used the path.

Officials though feel that as well as improving safety for the few who use it, there would be longer term benefits if the Trinity 2000 development succeeds to help people get across the A14 on foot and cycle to work.

The port liaison committee was told this week that the £340,000 scheme had been earmarked in budgets for 2004.

Councillor Harry Dangerfield said: "I would have thought they could have built a footbridge for significantly less, but I am not an engineer. It's a pity we cannot have the dock spur done and the footbridge."

The Transport Research Laboratory, commissioned by the Highways Agency, suggested several solutions for the dock spur between £120,000 and £385,000.

Councillors favoured a realignment of the entrance to the roundabout to slow lorries down coupled with work to separate town and port traffic.

No-one was available from the agency to comment today.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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