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Concern over increase of A14 traffic

PUBLISHED: 20:25 24 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:49 02 March 2010

GROWING concern was voiced today about the ability of the A14 to handle one million-plus extra lorry journeys a year if Felixstowe port expands.

The government's rejection of a £750 million plan to expand the container terminal's biggest rival Southampton has increased pressure for proposed extension projects at east coast ports to be given the go-ahead.

GROWING concern was voiced today about the ability of the A14 to handle one million-plus extra lorry journeys a year if Felixstowe port expands.

The government's rejection of a £750 million plan to expand the container terminal's biggest rival Southampton has increased pressure for proposed extension projects at east coast ports to be given the go-ahead.

A public inquiry into moves to create a new terminal at Bathside Bay at Harwich got under way this week, and an inquiry into proposals to redevelop Felixstowe's Landguard terminal could start before the end of the year.

Planners have been told the Felixstowe plan could add more than one million more trucks to the A14 in the next 20 years.

A report to Suffolk Coastal councillors said HGV movements on the dock spur road would more than double to 46,121 per day in 2023.

Several safety schemes have already been carried out at the dock spur junction because of lorries flipping over - the latest, a vehicle activated sign showing a tipping truck, plus other new signs was unveiled this week.

But the East of England Freight Council of the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed its concern about the ability of the A14 and rail network to support increased capacity at the port.

It has made an urgent call for improvements to East Coast ports' capacity and particularly for investment in the road access to them.

It says urgent improvements are needed to the A14 for Felixstowe, and A12 Brentwood to Lowestoft, important for access to Harwich and Ipswich.

Sarah Watkins, FTA regional policy manager said: "Roads congestion is an issue which leaves no region of the country untouched.

"In the eastern counties there are a number of major ports as well as plans for increasing their capacity.

"The trade routes for industry are often the 'only choice' routes and therefore work on upgrading and maintenance must be implemented as soon as possible. Investment in these key regional trade routes will benefit both industrial efficiency and the regional economy.

"The UK, as the fourth largest economy in the world, can hardly afford to limit ports capacity by a lack of investment in the regional roads and railways that are the arteries serving the heart of the industry and ensuring the economic prosperity of the East of England."

The Bathside Bay inquiry will hear arguments about the need for road and rail improvements, but the Highways Agency is confident the A14 can cope with Felixstowe's expansion, though the dock spur roundabout will need work.

WEBLINK: www.fta.co.uk

n What impact will one million more lorries have on the A14 for local residents? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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