Motorists report journeys over 90 minutes to get from Grange farm Kesgrave to Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 20:33 01 November 2016 | UPDATED: 20:33 01 November 2016
Two-and-a-half hours - that's how long it took one Kesgrave motorist to make their normal 25-minute journey into work this week, while many others have reported journeys in excess of an hour, after fresh roadworks began on one of the town's busiest roads.
On Monday, Anglian Water put up four-way temporary traffic lights at the Ropes Drive East roundabout on the A1214 – the main route for Kesgrave motorists connecting Ipswich and the A12.
But Grange Farm residents and those using the road have reported lengthy delays of an hour or an hour-and-a-half – despite the journey between Grange Farm and Ipswich only measuring around five miles.
One motorist, Nikki Sawyer, said: “It was absolute chaos during last night and this morning’s rush hours.
“It took my husband 2hours 30mins to drive a 25min journey, and myself it took 1hour and 30mins to drive the school run and get to work – this usually takes me 10mins. Grange Farm just wasn’t moving either way.
“If the works carry on, I’m going to have to walk the school run, which is doable but being pregnant and having to walk over an hour there and back it’s not ideal and will still make me very late for work.
“I’ve suggested Anglian Water should pay for all the extra fuel everyone’s having to use.”
Katie Davey added: “My mother spent an hour getting onto Grange Farm to collect and take my nine-year-old to school in Martlesham. Another hour to travel from Battles Lane to the Ropes Drive roundabout en route to school.
“Luckily another parent saw her in the traffic and they took my son and walked the route.
“This is usually less than a 10-minute car journey.
“I dread to think if there was an emergency during these periods of heavy traffic!” The temporary lights are due to stay in place until Friday, when Anglian Water’s work installing a new water connection is due to finish.
But question marks were raised over why no signs were put in place beforehand to highlight expected delays.
Motorist Lex Wood said: “They gave zero advance warning (I was held up 45 minutes). Had I known I would have prepared myself and the kids for walking the next day.”
Others questioned why the fresh work couldn’t have been carried out at the same time as sewer repairs were carried out by Suffolk County Council at the same roundabout in August, which also necessitated the need for temporary traffic lights.
The issue has caused some residents to plan to leave their homes more than an hour earlier than usual.
“I cycle into Ipswich town centre daily from Grange Farm, so it wasn’t a huge problem for me today,” said Steve Warner. “However, I also manage a children’s under-12s football team and I transport all the equipment for training Wednesday evenings.
“I therefore have no choice but to drive tomorrow so I’m planning to leave at 7.15am. I am still concerned I will not make a 9am start despite my office in Ipswich being just six miles away.
“I fear everyone will have the same idea and it will be absolute bedlam again.
“The council need to immediately consider additional and alternative routes to enter and exit Grange Farm. Thousands of residents and just two roads on and off onto the A1214? During rush hours it is entirely unacceptable and we need a resolution urgently.”
The disruption is the latest in a string of work carried out by various organisations in Kesgrave including drainage improvements in Bell Lane, and a road closure at the far end of Bell Lane near the Foxhall Road junction which finished last week – also carried out by Anglian Water.
An Anglian Water spokesman said: “Anglian Water engineers are installing a new water connection on the A1214 in Kesgrave. The works were planned with the local highways authority to start from Monday, October 31, and are due to finish on Friday, November 4.
“We know roadworks can be disruptive and we are very sorry if road users have been inconvenienced.
“Unfortunately the roadworks couldn’t be carried out during half term as A1214 was part of a diversion route for other works being carried out during the half-term period.
“We work closely with highways and other utilities to plan and prioritise work.
“One of our project engineers will be visiting the site today, but all works have been agreed with the local Highway Authority, who visited site yesterday and confirmed the traffic management was set up correctly in line with the Safety at Street Works and Road Works.”
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “We are sorry residents of Grange Farm and drivers using the A1214 through Kesgrave have once again experienced difficulties due to works on the A1214 Main Road.
“We cannot prevent public utilities from carrying out works on the highway and there are no rules stating they have to inform motorists of roadworks – unless they are planning to close the road.
“These are necessary works that could not take place during the school holidays due to other conflicting work and the Christmas works embargo on this road comes into force next week. If the work did not happen this week it would not be done until the new year.
“We have asked for work to commence between 7am and 7pm daily in order to get it completed as soon as possible to minimise disruption. We have also asked for manual activation of the temporary traffic lights when needed as well as extra signage with advanced warning signs about the delays.
“Our Network Assurance Inspector has been working closely with Anglian Water to make the traffic management easier to understand and they will continue to monitor the works. Everything we can do is being done to clear the site as soon as possible.
“We have been cutting hedges back on this road as well but have only been working on Sundays, using manual stop/go boards. On this Sunday just gone workers finished early as they were aware of traffic building in the area.
“We will be continuing these works from next Sunday [November 13], for another three weeks.”