Covid lockdown allows shorter roadworks on A14 in Suffolk
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The time taken to resurface the A14 between Claydon and Copdock should be halved because reduced traffic in lockdown means road engineers can work faster during with a full contraflow in operation.
The work had been scheduled to take nine weeks after starting on Monday, but now officials from Highways England hope to complete the resurfacing next month.
Traffic levels on the A14 have fallen by around a third since national lockdown restrictions were announced, prompting Highways England to implement a 24/7 contraflow system between Copdock and Claydon.
This will help reduce the time needed to complete the concrete surface upgrades from nine weeks of weekday overnight closures to approximately four weeks of a 24/7 operation, subject to weather conditions.
The surface of this stretch of the A14 was laid when the road was built in the early 1980s - it was the last section of the A14 Ipswich by-pass to open, in 1985.
As well as resurfacing and repairing potholes, the project - which will run until the end of February - will also see replacement kerbs installed, new road markings and studs laid (cat’s eyes), and drains cleared.
Karl Brooks, Highways England programme delivery manager, said: “The A14 is a vital route that provides key access across the country, stretching from the East region’s ports to Leicestershire. It is used by more than 85,000 drivers every day, including more than 21,000 hauliers transporting essential goods around the country.
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“The update to our programme is good news for local residents, who will endure fewer diversions through the village, good news for drivers, who will encounter our roadworks over a shorter period of time and it also help to reduce the cost of the scheme.”
From Saturday 16 January, drivers can expect to encounter various overnight lane closures between 8pm and 6am, while temporary average speed cameras are installed and an inspection of the central reserve barrier is completed.
Between Friday 22 January and Monday 25 January inclusive, Highways England will carry out work to install the contraflow system between junction 52 and 55, and will need to close overnight between 8pm and 6am.
Eastbound traffic will be diverted off the A14 at Claydon and onto the B1113 through Sproughton to Capel on the A12 from where it can return to Copdock or go south to London. Westbound traffic will follow the same diversion in reverse.
Long-distance traffic is encouraged to take alternative routes during the work to avoid congestion around the roadworks and to ensure there are minimal delays to local drivers. Highways England will use electronic message signs during the four-week scheme to alert drivers to the most suitable diversion around the roadworks.