Villagers press for safety work

VILLAGERS are continuing to press for safety work to be carried out as soon as possible on a railway bridge where a lorry driver narrowly avoided plunging more than 50ft down onto a railway line.

VILLAGERS are continuing to press for safety work to be carried out as soon as possible on a railway bridge where a lorry driver narrowly avoided plunging more than 50ft down onto a railway line.

Jim King, chairman of Brantham Parish Council, said the council had accepted the Suffolk highways department's preferred solution of concrete barriers with metal barricades in front of them.

He said: "We started our parish council meeting this week at the bridge. The highways department had suggested three options and we chose the one they preferred.

"The safety barriers will be installed at all four edges of the bridge and we have asked them to be considered a matter of urgency.


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"We know it will take a bit of time but we must have it before the railway tunnel at Ipswich closes next year."

The bridge next to the old forge on the A137 Ipswich to Manningtree road had been a source of concern to the parish even before May, when lorry driver Hamid Zandi's tractor unit skidded into a wall.

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At the time both police and Mr Zandi said he had been lucky that the unit had hit the wall sideways on, otherwise it could have plunged through a gap at the end down the embankment onto the railway line.

Mr King said there were other concerns about the A137 and the council was continuing to press for mini-roundabouts at the three junctions where housing estates fed onto the A137 and also for a night time lorry ban similar to one on the A137 Wherstead Road, in Ipswich.

The mini roundabouts are considered essential because of the expected increase in traffic volumes on the A137 through the village when the Ipswich railway tunnel is closed next year for widening.

Commuters to London were expected to be transported by bus to Manningtree but there were fears that many would simply use their cars.

Mr King said increasingly over the last couple of years residents had been complaining about the noise of heavy lorries through the village at night.

He said the parish council had not had a satisfactory answer from the highways department on either issue: "I think they've been put in the "too difficult drawer"."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said the dates for doing the bridge safety work were provisionally April to mid-June 2004 but the work would be done before the tunnel was closed.

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