New speed limit proposal for bridge
A NEW 50mph speed limit could be imposed on the A14 over the Orwell Bridge, The Evening Star can reveal today.Police and council officials are considering lobbying the Department of Transport for the new speed limit after an increasing number of crashes on Suffolk's busiest road.
A NEW 50mph speed limit could be imposed on the A14 over the Orwell Bridge, The Evening Star can reveal today.
Police and council officials are considering lobbying the Department of Transport for the new speed limit after an increasing number of crashes on Suffolk's busiest road.
The limit could also extend from the bridge to the Copdock Mill interchange with the A12 - the section of road which has seen a series of accidents which have brought Ipswich to a grinding halt.
However the more radical option of building a new northern by-pass for Ipswich from Whitton across to Martlesham Heath appeared to have been kicked into touch.
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Local councillor Kathy Pollard, whose division includes the stretch of the A14 from the bridge to Copdock Mill said the speed limit could help to keep the traffic flowing.
She said: "Part of the problem on that stretch of the road seems to be traffic joining and leaving the A14 at the appropriate speed - drivers have to get that right.
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"If there was a speed limit it would slow things down slightly for a few miles, but if it keeps the traffic flowing it would be better all around.
"This is an option that has been discussed with the police but it would have to be taken to the government because the A14 is a trunk road."
She said proposals to build a northern by-pass had been favoured by the county council 10 years ago, but government opposition had forced the abandonment of the project.
"We had protected a route for the northern by-pass, but after the government made it clear the road would not be supported that protection was lifted.
"It would be one solution to the traffic problems of the area, but I really don't see it as a realistic possibility now.
"We need to look at other options."
That view was backed up by Conservative transport spokesman Guy Macgregor. He felt more needed to be done to keep traffic moving on the existing A14.
He said: "We have to look at the way this government is prepared for bad weather.
"We saw all the problems on the M11 a couple of years ago and it seems as if the government hasn't learned those lessons so far as the A14 in Suffolk is concerned.
"So far as the northern by-pass is concerned, in the early 1990s we had all the details of that in place and especially the Kesgrave by-pass.
"We also had the money to do the work on that from the developers of Grange Farm - but that was thrown out by the government and opportunity was lost.
"I don't think it is realistic to look back at that."
The northern by-pass option was backed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bob Feltwell who warned traffic chaos would continue to blight the area until it was built.
Suffolk County Council leader Bryony Rudkin was in London today meeting transport minister David Jamieson as part of an East Anglian delegation seeking improvements to the A11 between Cambridge and Norwich, including the stretch past Elveden in Suffolk.
She said: "The northern by-pass is something we may have to look at again, but it's a very big issue.
"Part of the problem is that drivers are not familiar with the kind of weather we've been having over the last week or so - we used to get snow every year but that doesn't happen now and people don't have the experience to drive in this kind of weather," she said.
Mrs Rudkin had not heard of proposals for a speed limit, but said such restrictions had helped reduced accidents on busy motorways in the midlands where a number of roads converged around Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Although the delegation today was putting the case for the A11, Mrs Rudkin said she would try to raise the question of the A14 as well.
"I try never to miss an opportunity to raise questions that are of interest to Suffolk when I meet ministers," she said.