Europe could fund junction work

UP to one-third of the cost of a major safety scheme for Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout could be funded by Euro cash, it was revealed today.

UP to one-third of the cost of a major safety scheme for Felixstowe's deathtrap dock spur roundabout could be funded by Euro cash, it was revealed today.

Returning from a fact-finding visit to Brussels, three town councillors said the campaign for action at the notorious junction now needed to be turned firmly on the British government, which would provide the rest of the money.

Mike Ninnmey , Harry Dangerfield and Dot Paddick funded the two-day trip to the European Parliament themselves to learn more about its workings and see if European funding for the roundabout is available.

They met fellow Liberal Democrats, eastern region MEPs, and officials.

Mr Ninnmey said the A14 at Felixstowe and the port's cross-country rail links to Nuneaton were included in a Trans-European Transport Network project earmarked for completion by 2011.

The aim was improve safety blackspots and solve choke points on the A14 to remove congestion and shorten journeys, saving money and improving the cargo route from Ireland through to Benelux, with Felixstowe the European gateway.

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"When this list of schemes was first drawn up, there was only ten per cent funding from Europe for projects on the routes. That has since been doubled to 20pc and is now rising to 30pc," said Mr Ninnmey.

"We understand 20pc of the cost will come from private enterprise and the remaining 50pc from the British government.

"But it seems in recent years our government has been slow to take up these match-funding projects and that is why a number of important schemes – such as the dock spur roundabout – have not been done.

"As well as working with MEPs, we need to turn our attention to Westminster and find out why we are not taking advantage of the opportunities here.

"The dock spur is an important part of a major European route and will be even more important as the port expands.

"It is our residents in Felixstowe's west ward who are most at risk of being injured by the lorry accidents at the junction because they have no choice but to come round that roundabout and down the dock spur road to reach their homes.

"We need to push for a safety scheme now while the money is available and because the port's expansion will worsen traffic problems with more and more lorries on that roundabout."

Mrs Paddick added: "We have 25,000 people here with one way in and one way out – and that's via the dock spur. It needs to be solved and needs to be solved now before something else happens."

Twenty lorries have rolled over or shed their loads in the past six years at the roundabout. In the worst, motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed when an articulated lorry landed on top of his car and crushed it flat.

Campaigners want changes to separate port and town traffic. The Highways Agency is preparing to install vehicle-activated flashing slow down signs.

n What do you think – is a major safety scheme needed at the dock spur? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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