Step closer to getting lorries off A14

HOPES for improvements to a cross-country freight route to take lorries using Felixstowe port off the A14 today successfully overcame the first hurdle.

HOPES for improvements to a cross-country freight route to take lorries using Felixstowe port off the A14 today successfully overcame the first hurdle.

Government officials have agreed to take forward the scheme, worth millions of pounds, for consideration for possible funding and further work will now be undertaken with Network Rail.

Currently, around 4,000 trucks a day visit the port and after the container terminal's next expansion there will be more than a million more every year on the dual carriageway running through Suffolk.

Port chiefs want a greater proportion of that cargo to go by train, but to do so there must be improvements to the freight line which runs from Felixstowe to Nuneaton.

Improving the track will involve work to tunnels and bridges to allow new higher containers boxes to be transported on the route, and also measures to improve the track.

The work on the route will enable the port to handle increasing numbers of high cube containers.

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Steve Cox, executive director for strategy and development at the East of England Development Agency, said: “The schemes which the Department of Transport are considering for possible funding are vital for the future international trade and competitiveness of the East of England and will improve the mobility and therefore success of business.

“Although it does not guarantee funding, it is an important step towards realising these schemes.”

Mr Cox said initial work on the scheme to improve the rail links between Nuneaton, which connects the East of England to the East Midlands, had shown it would have national and regional productivity benefits.

He said: “The proposed enhancements would provide full freight route access across the country and the region to the port of Felixstowe.

“As a result more freight could be carried by rail, helping to reduce the amount of heavy goods traffic on the region's roads, in particular the A14.”

Bosses at Felixstowe port have given their full backing to the funding bid, and are also proposing work to further improve rail capacity by dualling part of the Felixstowe to Ipswich rail line.

WEBLINKS:

www.portoffelixstowe.co.uk

www.eeda.org.uk

Do you want to see more cargo go by rail than road? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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