Danger roundabout work closer
PROSPECTS of one million more lorry movements at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout today look set to force major safety work to be done.Although work may still be some years away, it seems experts have at last conceded that the junction – scene of 20 truck crashes in the past six years – will not be able to cope with a huge increase in traffic.
PROSPECTS of one million more lorry movements at Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout today look set to force major safety work to be done.
Although work may still be some years away, it seems experts have at last conceded that the junction – scene of 20 truck crashes in the past six years –
will not be able to cope with a huge increase in traffic.
Suffolk County Council wants a commitment to the "re-modelling" of the A14 roundabout "to ensure a high level of safety and appropriate capacity" before plans to redevelop Felixstowe port's southern terminal are given the go-ahead.
Councillors have told Suffolk Coastal council, responsible for planning permission, and the government, which will decide a harbour revision order, that this must be a condition or legal agreement.
Expansion of the port will mean that by 2020 there will be nearly another one million lorry movements a year along the A14 as the port's throughput increases.
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By that stage the port will have the ability to handle around 5.6 million standard-sized boxes a year, most of which will travel in and out by road.
County councillors are concerned at the impact that this will have at the dock spur roundabout, and also the one at Copdock, another vital link with the A14.
"For the A14 Candlet Road roundabout (dock spur), a maximum increase in peak hour traffic flow of 4.2 per cent is predicted," said the county council highways officers in a report.
"The applicants (Port of Felixstowe) agreed that some modification is required to enable it to perform satisfactorily.
"They are in discussion with the Highways Agency about the detailed design, and will fund the agreed works."
Officers accept that the A14 has adequate capacity for extra traffic but will be asking for the whole route to be assessed because of several locations where there are capacity and safety concerns.
What the work at the dock spur roundabout will be is not known at this stage.
Campaigners would like to see either a flyover to the port – though the cost of this, unless Euro grant aid can be gained, is likely to be prohibitive – or a physical separation of port and town traffic.
The separation would prevent lorries rolling over and landing on top of cars. In one accident motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed when an articulated lorry landed on his car and crushed it flat.
Work is currently under way on a £106,000 project to install flashing signs activated by lorries that experts say are going too fast.
Two vehicle activated signs are being put up at the junction to improve safety and cut speeds of juggernauts – following a major campaign by The Evening Star, port chiefs and councillors to highlight its dangers.
n Do you think flashing speed signs will make lorries slow down? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk