New group to look at road problems

A NEW pressure group is being set up to look at problems of trucks on the increasingly busy A14 - and head off congestion as Felixstowe port expands.

A NEW pressure group is being set up to look at problems of trucks on the increasingly busy A14 - and head off congestion as Felixstowe port expands.

The initiative is part of the port's £250 million-plus expansion project which will generate one million more lorries a year on the dual carriageway on the Felixstowe peninsula.

Representatives from councils, community organisations, environmental groups and businesses have been invited to join the new Felixstowe port freight quality partnership, which will meet for the first time on October 15.

The main focus of the forum will be the A14 and looking at the transport problems on the route and to identify traffic management plans to deal with and anticipate congestion in future.

One of the main aims - according to the public inquiry inspector who approved the plans for the expansion - will be to try to reduce lorry traffic at peak times.

It will also have an input into the plans to improve the dock spur roundabout to cater for the extra trucks - with the current proposal being to have three lanes at the junction to separate and ease traffic flowing into Felixstowe and away from the port.

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Other key issues include Operation Stack, whether lorries should be allowed to overtake on the Felixstowe peninsula, and increasing rail cargo to reduce lorries.

In addition, the port has to set up its own travel plan, encouraging employees to car share to travel to work, or to cycle or bus.

The port says the aim of the freight quality partnership is to make the A14 safe, economic and to improve its environment.

However, the idea of a new group has not found favour with everyone.

Trimley St Mary Parish Council feels that with the Operation Stack steering group and port local liaison committee already in existence, another body could prove one too many.

Chairman Bryan Frost said the group would not be attending the inaugural meeting but would welcome a place at the table when specific issues affecting the village were discussed.