Should Sproughton be used as an A14 diversion? Village says there is “real risk of injury”
PUBLISHED: 09:09 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:09 01 March 2019
Calls have been made for diversions off the A14 to be changed to avoid Sproughton village, amid fears for people’s safety from traffic.
Sproughton Parish Council said when the A14 is closed for either an emergency or planned work, large numbers of vehicles end up using the village as a diversion – including lorries.
Zac Norman from the parish council said a 7.5tonne limit, largely because of the Lower Street bridge over the River Gipping, was being ignored.
Issues with the width of the roads for HGVs and the volume of traffic coming through at all hours of the night meant it was having an impact on the village.
Now, calls have been made for Highways England, which manages and maintains the A14, to carry out a risk assessment and fresh diversions to be looked at.
“When there is an emergency diversion every single HGV comes through and they are scraping wing mirrors on the houses – there is a real risk of injury,” Mr Norman said.
“In 2005 a little girl was hit coming through the village. Luckily she was alright but it just shows how bad the problem is.”
Mr Norman said contraflows on the A14 and convoy routes for single lane closures had been mentioned but were considered expensive and unsafe by Highways England.
The council also said potential diversions via Old Norwich Road and Ipswich Road or Hintlesham and Hadleigh Heath had not been explored as thoroughly as they could have been.
“They [Highways England] decided the traffic volume through Sproughton is tolerable, but people in the village and parish council know that isn’t tolerable.”
County councillor for Belstead Brook Christopher Hudson said the village was in danger of being “swamped” by congestion.
A spokesman for Highways England said: “Highways England are liaising with Suffolk County Council in regard to the diversion routes along the A14, with the objective to minimise disruption to communities.”The work comes as concerns by the community were raised over a series of planning applications lodged which could see the size of the 570-home village nearly quadruple, if all were approved.
A parish meeting on Wednesday, February 27 at Tithe Barn saw more than 250 people turn out to discuss the plans.