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Port expansion prompts dock spur fears

PUBLISHED: 22:52 05 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 March 2010

EXPANSION of Felixstowe port could make the notorious A14 dock spur roundabout even more lethal, it was feared today.

While the plans to double the capacity of Britain's biggest container port were welcomed by the community, campaigners were stepping up their efforts for safety improvements at the junction to stop lorries overturning.

EXPANSION of Felixstowe Port could make the notorious A14 dock spur roundabout even more lethal, it was feared today.

While plans to double the capacity of Britain's biggest container port were welcomed by the community, campaigners renewed their call for safety improvements at the junction.

When extensions to the 700-acre box port are complete, it will be handling 5.2million containers a year.

That will mean more lorries travelling round the roundabout every day. And that will increase the risk of rollover crashes and that someone else will be killed at the blackspot.

Port chiefs said today the multi-million pound plans to fill in the Dock Basin, convert the old P&O ro-ro berths and upgrade Landguard Terminal would create 400 new jobs.

These would be in addition to 150 jobs recently announced and a further 150 for the £270m extension to Trinity Terminal due to take place next year.

Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said the Landguard project would probably not take place until 2004 or 2005.

A Harbour Revision Order – which would also include traffic and environmental impact studies – would be needed from the government first, and it was not known how long this process would take.

He said:"The size of the new development may give the impression that it has been studied for some time, but actually it was decided quite quickly.

"P&O had a lease until 2036 and it was only when they came to use earlier this year and said they wanted to be released from that lease, that the plans were made."

Villagers in Trimley St Mary say they will monitor closely the port's proposals and have raised worries over possible increased noise, congestion and light pollution for people living nearby.

Parish council chairman Hazel Blackshaw said: "A lot of houses were built close to the main road and people living in certain parts of the Farmlands estate find the noise pretty unbearable at times now."

She also expressed concern about the effect on the dock spur, where there have been 19 accidents in six years with lorries rolling over or shedding their loads.

In the worst accident, motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed when a lorry toppled and crushed his BMW in the inside lane.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer is this week seeking a face-to-face meeting with the Highways Agency chief executive. Last night Felixstowe town councillors endorsed his action.

They stressed that the meeting should push for separation of the traffic on the roundabout heading for the resort and the port.

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