Here’s �70 million we could have saved

NOW they are in place, it has suddenly occurred to me what those horribly ugly overhead electronic signs on the A14 on the Felixstowe peninsula will say.

On sunny days as people head to the coast it will be “Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap” and on others there will be ads for the BOGOFs (buy-one-get-one-frees) at Morrisons.

Perhaps using them for advertising would help get some of the money they cost back – they are certainly never going to be used for anything roads-connected.

These signs have cost us taxpayers �70 million along the A14 – an incredible waste of money and had they not been given the go-ahead and the deal signed and sealed before the end of the last government, the incoming Lib-Con pact would surely have axed them.

Why do these signs rarely say anything useful?

Witness the one approaching Copdock which only ever says Cambridge 58 miles and 60 minutes away – who cares?

Messages such as “Drive on the left”, “Tiredness kills – take a break” and “Don’t drink and drive” or about roadworks weeks away do little good.

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Even if they do say there has been a crash ahead, only local people will be able to pull off and find alternative routes and avoid the traffic queues.

What will the signs at Morston Hall and Trimley St Martin really say? An accident beyond that point would be rare, and there is absolutely no point in them saying “Port closed” or Operation Stack.

No, they have been brilliantly strategically-placed in the wrong position for that.

If a trucker reaches the signs they will already have foolishly passed the turning for Operation Stack and be heading for the closed port. Take it from me, no lorry driver will miss the Seven Hills junction – they will all be parked up, drinking tea and watching the mini TVs in their cabs, and never see the signs.

? Read Richard Cornwell’s full column in the FX pull-out all about the Felixstowe peninsula in the Evening Star every Wednesday.

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