Safety work needed urgently

URGENT safety work costing more than £600,000 has been identified for a seaside town's road network.But even though the projects are needed in the "short term", highways chiefs do not expect to carry out many in the near future because of lack of cash.

URGENT safety work costing more than £600,000 has been identified for a seaside town's road network.

But even though the projects are needed in the "short term", highways chiefs do not expect to carry out many in the near future because of lack of cash.

On top of this, other schemes are already coming forward which community leaders in Felixstowe are pushing up the priority list.

The safety work at the resort was part of £1.5 million worth of projects identified three years ago in the town's local transport action plan.

Much of the work was long-term, to take place over the next decade – talks over how it will be done are ongoing and some plans have already been binned.

There has been concerns though that some schemes, such as those to protect cyclists, children and pedestrians have still not been done.

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The plan said 20mph speed limits should be placed outside all schools within a year and this work – now costed at £160,000 – is still awaited.

Details of the latest list of work, costing £685,000 in total, was given to the joint town-county council Felixstowe highways advisory committee:

n Improve pedestrian route signing – £20,000;

n Safety improvements to side road junctions – £150,000;

n Cyclist warning signs – £40,000;

n High Road / Garrison Lane cyclists' safety scheme – £30,000;

n Undercliff Road West cycle lane – £5,000;

n Improve bus shelters – £50,000;

n 20mph speed limit outside all schools – £160,000;

n Prevent parking near schools – £10,000;

n Change traffic priorities at Convalescent Hill – £20,000;

n Safe routes to school plans – £400,000.

The committee decided cyclist warning signs and the 20mph limit outside schools should be priorities, but they also felt priority should be given to creation of a turning area at Felixstowe Ferry and to preventing parking in Walton Avenue, where cars and lorries are churning up verges and causing danger.

David Stiff, of the county council environment and transport department, said all schemes from the transport action plan scored well in their bid for finance, as did the Ferry scheme. However, Walton Avenue scored "poorly".

Schemes had to be considered against ten national transport targets, including reducing accidents, encouraging parents not to use cars to take children to school and increasing numbers of people cycling to work.

Some schemes may be regraded if they fail to meet these targets. Officers were waiting to see how much cash is available for work in 2005-2006.

Longer term plans include work to discourage traffic from using Bent Hill, setting up a public transport interchange at the rail station, and pedestrian-friendly measures in Sea Road to reduce boy-racer problems.

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