New traffic feature hinders tractors

DRIVERS have to stop and dismantle a new traffic safety feature before they can take their tractors through a Suffolk village.The new road layout in Eyke, near Woodbridge, has been criticised by angry farmers who claimed their advice over the design had been ignored.

DRIVERS have to stop and dismantle a new traffic safety feature before they can take their tractors through a Suffolk village.

The new road layout in Eyke, near Woodbridge, has been criticised by angry farmers who claimed their advice over the design had been ignored.

The width of the A1152 has been reduced to 2.8m a lane after new pavements were installed. Two safety refuge bollards have been placed in the middle of the main road close to the primary school.

But drivers of large agricultural machinery can not keep to the narrower lanes and they are in danger of smashing down the bollards or ripping up the safety rails placed by the kerb.

Now they have to stop their vehicles and take a spanner to undo the bolts on the bollards, remove them, pass through, and then replace the bollards and bolt them down.

Farmer Philip Westrope, of Loudham, said: ''This is unbelievable. Just imagine the annoyance of other road users that are held up in the resulting traffic jam, not to mention the frustration it will cause us every time this has to be done, at certain times of the year on a daily basis.

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''The situation is totally unacceptable and if it was not so serious would be laughable. We are in what is historically an agricultural area and employing up to 29 staff in a difficult farming climate, with many jobs being lost from the industry over the past few years. Efficiencies in our production are of paramount importance. This ludicrous situation will be detrimental to our efforts to achieve this.''

The width of five pieces of equipment range from a caterpillar tractor at 2.95m to a haylock subsoiler/cultivator at 4.3m.

County councillor Peter Monk said the ''absolutely ridiculous'' situation was potentially more dangerous than previous problems with the road. He said he would urgently discuss the traffic safety measures with the county council.

Dave Watson, the council's rural traffic manager, said: ''We are aware of some local concerns about the new traffic calming scheme in Eyke and will be investigating them with the scheme designers.''

The measures were paid for by Seebrook Holdings Ltd, part owners of the former Bentwaters air base, and were introduced to make the A1152 safer and able to cater for a predicted growth in traffic.

Residents at Eyke parish council annual general meeting were critical of various aspects of the long-awaited scheme but parish chairman Iain Morrison said: ''We have done what most of the people in the village wanted. I think we are still in a trial period and then they will have to come back and look at the problems.''