Village road grid-locked as drivers ignore 16-mile diversion route
PUBLISHED: 08:35 30 November 2018
Lorries and cars are blocking roads in villages around Coddenham, and delaying fire engines, as they fail to follow the official diversion that has been put in place while roadworks take place.
Structural repairs are ongoing in Church Road, and while the closure is in place traffic travelling from the northern side of the village is unable to access Needham Road to pull onto the A140.
Instead, Highways England are directing traffic east out to Ashbocking then north on the B1077 past Helmingham to Mill Hill. Drivers should then turn west towards Pettaugh before joining the A140 at Earl Stonham - adding 16 miles to their journey.
However not all drivers are following this route.
Sarah Quinton, who lives in Rectory Road, Hemingstone is frustrated that drivers are using the single-track country lane as a rat run to avoid the lengthy diversion.
She said: “Rectory Road is currently being used as an inappropriate diversion due to the nearby road closure in Coddenham.
“The single-lane track has been grid-locked at peak times since Monday and verges have been pushed into ditches.
“We have also seen cars use the farmers field opposite ours when it has got congested and just drive through the footpath on the field.”
She said the congestion has delayed emergency services.
“On Monday we had a fire engine on a blue light call which was unable to pass due to road being grid-locked with cars and HGVs.”
She is calling for the Highways Agency to make the diversion route clearer to avoid confusion, although she also believes drivers are re-routing on purpose to avoid the extra miles.
“The diversion from Coddenham is not clear enough and there isn’t any advanced warning.
“A combination of poorly signed traffic management, lack of safety audit when approving road closure applications and drivers that ignore or can’t read road signs is making our lives hell.
“Everybody on this road feels the same, the road being used inappropriately is an ongoing issue.”
She said the road cannot cope with the increase traffic flow as it is already in a poor state.
“As an unclassified road we are low on the priority, especially for repairs - the road is a state. Everybody is banging their heads against a wall.”
The roadworks in Coddenham began on Tuesday, November 27 and are expected to be finished on Friday, November 30, three days sooner than originally expected.
A spokesman from Highways England has apologised for the frustration caused.
They said: “The structure repair works are due to be complete on Friday 30 November, and we envisage the road to be reopen by the end of the day.
“The official diversion route for all vehicle types travelling east bound is via A140. All vehicles, including HGVs, are entitled to travel west bound only along Rectory Road, as stated on the road signs.
“The agreed diversion routes are put in place to carry the same class of vehicle as the closed road. We are unfortunately unable to prevent road users with local knowledge using shortcuts.
“We would like to apologise for the frustration caused whilst these essential repairs take place.”