Road should be a motorway

CALLS were made today for the busy A14 to be upgraded to motorway standard as soon as possible.There is growing safety concern over the dual carriageway, which is used by nearly 1.

CALLS were made today for the busy A14 to be upgraded to motorway standard as soon as possible.

There is growing safety concern over the dual carriageway, which is used by nearly 1.5 million lorries a year travelling to and from Felixstowe port and stretches of which are expected to be over-capacity within a decade.

And The Evening Star is committed to highlighting worries about slow-moving traffic on the road – especially cycles and tractors – in our campaign.

The Freight Transport Association today urged that the route from Felixstowe to the Midlands, a vital link between the UK's major container port and the central motorway network, be improved to motorway standard as soon as possible.

It said the road was "constantly congested, has a poor safety record, and fails to serve the interests of either car drivers or lorry operators".

FTA general manager for campaigns, Chris Welsh said: "I shudder to think what is the annual cost of congestion on the A14.

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"It must run into many, many millions of pounds. That constitutes a dead loss for the UK economy and a waste of time and energy for all drivers, whether car or lorry.

"The UK operates the fourth largest economy in the world. Yet the government seems content to allow this massive daily waste on the road which serves the nation's biggest container port.

"There can be absolutely no doubt of the need to improve the road for safety reasons, for economic reasons, and for common sense reasons. Why are we tolerating this senseless waste?"

FTA representatives attended the first A14 Forum, called and chaired by Cambridgeshire Constabulary Chief Constable Tom Lloyd.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Highways Agency, councils and road users.

Key A14 problems include the high density of junctions – 27 in 23 miles – poor quality lay-bys, and pure lack of capacity for the amount of traffic.

Mr Welsh congratulated the police for taking the initiative and said the association – which represents companies operating over 200,000 goods vehicles, almost half the national fleet – looked forward to working with them and others to find efficient measures to improve safety and reduce congestion.

"There must be long term investment in the A14 – we must see it improved to motorway standard with three lanes. And sooner rather than later," he added.

Upgrading the route to three lanes would be an enormous cost, but making it a motorway would also prevent tractors and cycles using it, helping to ease the flow of traffic a little.

The Highways Agency has told the public inquiry into the £242 million redevelopment of Felixstowe port's southern terminals that the A14 between Seven Hills and Copdock interchange will reach capacity by 2013 if the port expands, adding nearly another one million more lorries on to the network.

Do you think the A14 should be reclassified as a motorway? Have you experienced problems on the A12 or A14? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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