What impact do constant roadworks on Wherstead Road have on Ipswich?
PUBLISHED: 05:30 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:51 20 January 2020
Calls have been made to reduce the amount of disruption caused by roadworks on one of Ipswich's busiest road after new figures show that works were scheduled for 600 days over the last three years.
Two-way traffic lights, stop and go signs and lane closures have been causing chaos in Wherstead Road - a major artery into the town centre from the A14 - with figures obtained through the freedom of information act showing that since 2017, road works have been planned for more than 50% of the time.
In total, there 600 days of work carried out but some of the scheduled roadworks overlapped meaning there were fewer than 600 days of disruption.
Suffolk Highways confirmed that 136 separate works were scheduled over the three years but say they are working hard to reduce the amount of disruption, while still allowing vital utility work to take place.
A Suffolk Highways spokeswoman said: "There are particular roads across the county that tend to cause more disruption than others, with Wherstead Road being one of them as a main route into Ipswich.
"The Network Assurance team work closely with Suffolk Highways and utility services to co-ordinate roadworks to limit disruption as best as possible."
A Suffolk Chamber of Commerce representative said that more needs to be done to reduce the impact of roadworks on local businesses.
He said: "The Wherstead Road is one of the key gateways into Ipswich for goods, workers, shoppers and other visitors.
"This data suggests a surprising level of disruption, which compound matters when there are problems along the nearby A14, including the closure of the Orwell Bridge.
"Suffolk Chamber is looking to all relevant parties, including local councils and utility companies to rapidly and comprehensively improve their coordination to ensure future roadworks are kept to an absolute minimum."
The Suffolk Highways spokeswoman added: "We appreciate that roadworks can be frustrating, particularly on Wherstead Road however utilities have a duty to maintain their assets, to ensure these are fully operational at all times.
"When we are notified of necessary road works, impact on business is taken into consideration.
"As part of the agreement process, services must notify businesses and residents within the vicinity of the roadworks.
"This provides advance warning for businesses to communicate to their customers. We will also request that 'Business open as usual' signs are in place.
"We are looking at ways and opportunities to improve how roadworks take place across the county, to further limit disruption to members of the public.
"If the works are defined as immediate works, they are unfortunately by their nature reactive works to resolve an emergency and we will assess and advise under the noticing arrangement to put reactive measures/requests in place like 'manual control lights during peak periods'.
"However, if the works are planned they'll be handled more pro-actively to try to minimise congestion."