New attempt to end gridlock

WORK to improve a roundabout linking two of the region's major roads has today emerged as a top priority in a bid to prevent accidents causing gridlock.

WORK to improve a roundabout linking two of the region's major roads has today emerged as a top priority in a bid to prevent accidents causing gridlock.

There was severe traffic congestion yesterday after a chemical tanker overturned near the Copdock roundabout linking the A12 and A14 near Ipswich at about 6am.

It is the second time in little over a month a lorry has overturned there and led to queues around the area quickly building up as police worked to recover the vehicle and diversions were put in place.

Paul West, responsible for transport at Ipswich council, said there are always traffic problems when such an accident occurs but believes plans to revamp the roundabout could have a positive effect.

A Highways Agency report on the A14 reveals that “capacity and safety enhancements” to the Copdock interchange are a key priority.

This could include could include erecting traffic lights at each of the roundabout's entry roads, widening of entry slip roads and segregated turning lanes from A12 south to A14 west and from A12 to A14 east.

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Mr West said: “I know that the Copdock roundabout is top of the priorities for any improvements to the A12 and A14.

“It is a pretty critical junction, serving Ipswich and the wider area. We are always raising issues of the A12 and A14 and what happens when there are instances like this when we meet with the county council and Highways Agency.

“Hopefully the time will soon come when improvements are made.”

Mr West said work is done to ensure that whenever there is a serious accident, diversions are put in place as quickly as possible in a bid to keep traffic running smoothly.

However he said that due to the area's geography, delays are almost unavoidable when there is a major accident near where the A12 and A14 meet south of Ipswich.

He said: “There would never be an ideal diversionary route.”

Yesterday's incident bares striking similarities to an accident last month in which a lorry overturned on the same roundabout.

That accident happened at about 3pm on Tuesday March 18, with the overturned lorry blocking one lane of the A12 and closing the A14 completely for five hours between 8.45pm and 2am the following day while it was removed from the scene.

Once it had been uprighted, the lorry needed to be unloaded before it could be completely removed.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said the organisation meets with borough and county chiefs to decide on diversion routes.

He said: We are doing everything we can to make people's journeys more reliable but it is also up to people to make sure they are prepared when they go on their journey.”

What can be done to keep traffic flowing? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

DESPITE being within three miles of my destination, the journey took more than an hour due to long tailbacks.

I joined the A14 eastbound carriageway from Bury Road at about 7.50am but had not gone further than half a mile along the road before I ran into delays.

I remained in traffic, moving along at a snail's pace, for around 25 minutes.

Frustratingly traffic seemed to be moving freely towards Bury St Edmunds. I did even notice a tractor whiz passed me and then I knew things must be bad.

While the queue I was in crawled along, the other lane was fairly free flowing. I did consider switching lanes and heading on to the next junction but did not know what the situation was further along the route and so decided not to risk it.

As it turned out, it would not have made much difference because when I eventually came off the A14 on to the slip road to the Copdock interchange, the road leading to the A12 southbound and A14 westbound was blocked.

Amazingly a diversion was in place which took me back onto the A14 eastbound carriageway and so I rejoined a massive traffic jam, which I remained in for a further 40 minutes.

I spotted a car on the side of the road with the bonnet open, which had obviously overheated. Alongside it stood the driver with a resigned look on his face, probably aware it was going to be a long morning.

The diversion took motorists off at the next junction to the A137 at Wherstead. Though one lane was heavily blocked with vehicles following the diversion, I was happy to switch to the next lane and head towards a relatively traffic-free Ipswich town centre.