Bypass back on the drawing board
HOPES are high that a bypass, abandoned nine years ago, may yet be built for four villages that straddle one of the county's busiest roads.A five-mile stretch of the A12 between Saxmundham and Wickham Market slices through four villages – Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Little Glenham, and Marlesford.
HOPES are high that a bypass, abandoned nine years ago, may yet be built for four villages that straddle one of the county's busiest roads.
A five-mile stretch of the A12 between Saxmundham and Wickham Market slices through four villages – Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Little Glenham, and Marlesford.
Dubbed at the time the most dangerous road in Suffolk, it claimed the lives of 17 people with another 31 seriously injured between 1978 and 1993.
The Department of Transport gave the go-ahead for the bypass in November 1993.
But just as work on the Government-funded £20million dual carriageway was about to begin in 1995, Whitehall spending cuts stopped the project and it has been in a drawer ever since.
Now that responsibility for the A12 has passed to Suffolk County Council, a proposal for a single carriageway, £18.4m bypass looks set to be included in its next local transport plan.
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Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer – who has championed the case for the by-pass – met with highways officials in Ipswich to discuss scheme.
Speaking afterwards, he said: "They have given me real hope that this long-overdue improvement could be given priority. The villages have suffered long enough from traffic thundering through them.
"But a bypass will have a major effect on investment potential in both Leiston and Lowestoft, which are suffering because the road link south is slow and dangerous."
The next county council five-year plan will run from 2006 to 2011 and Suffolk County Council is now considering which major projects to include.
Julian Swainson, its executive portfolio holder for environment and transport, said the need for the A12 bypass appeared compelling.
"Although no Government could support the complete dualling of the A12, the case for a bypass for the four villages is very strong indeed," he added.