Little work needed for safe route

LITTLE more than a mile of low-quality new road would be needed to create a safe route for cyclists, tractors and other slow-moving vehicles avoiding the A14.

LITTLE more than a mile of low-quality new road would be needed to create a safe route for cyclists, tractors and other slow-moving vehicles avoiding the A14.

Most of the A14 through Suffolk is completely new road - built beside the old A45, but distinct from it.

The old road provides an alternative route for slow-moving traffic, and this seems to work.

Over recent years all the fatal accidents affecting cyclists between Ipswich and Bury have been on the short sections where the A14 was built on the exact route of the old road - the Haughley bends and at Rougham.

At these locations there are no easy, quick alternative routes for slow traffic - alternative routes are too long to be attractive.

However the government's Highways' Agency, which is responsible for the maintenance and development of trunk roads, this year published detailed plans for a new road to by-pass the Haughley bends altogether.

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When opened, probably in about 2009 or 2010, this will take the fast traffic off the existing road, leaving that for local slow traffic, cycles, and tractors.

Then the only section of road where there is no old A45 alternative will be the short stretch between Rougham and Bury St Edmunds, where 53-year-old cyclist Terrance Neeson died last week.

It would not be difficult, however, to build two relatively short stretches of road to link in to existing minor roads in the area which would created a "safe" route straight into Bury St Edmunds.

The total length of these new stretches of road would be less than that of the new road built from Levington to Trimley five years ago.

That road cost £500,000 and was built after a long campaign spearheaded by the Evening Star to close the gaps at the Levington junction.

It also meant the completion of a safe route for cyclists and tractors travelling between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Two new stretches of road at Rougham could be built by Suffolk County Council - there would be no need for them to have any impact on the A14 itself during construction.

The Rookery crossroads at Rougham is itself the subject of a £10 million improvement scheme which is about to start.

That will see the construction of a new flyover junction - but it will not involve the creation of a new safe route parallel to the A14.

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