March 11 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Long-standing traffic problems at the Oulton Broad North level crossing have been raised at a national level.
A delegation from the Lowestoft area have met transport minister Stephen Hammond in Whitehall to keep him updated on efforts to ease the congestion caused by the busy crossing in Bridge Road.
At the moment, the safety barriers remain down for about three minutes as trains approach and then leave Oulton Broad North station – causing long queues to build up on surrounding roads.
But the meeting heard that Network Rail was expected to finalise its plans to upgrade signals at the station next month and that this should lead to the barriers taking less time to open and close.
The delegation that met Mr Hammond included Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee, Waveney District Council leader Colin Law, county council portfolio holder for transport Graham Newman, the chairman of Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce James Reeder, and Richard Perkins, of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
Mr Hammond was initially made aware of the congestion problems at the crossing when he visited Lowestoft in September to open the new bus and rail interchange at the town’s station.
Speaking after the latest meeting, Mr Aldous said: “Once the scheme has been finalised, I shall be doing all I can to ensure that the necessary funding is secured so that the work is done as quickly as possible.
“The congestion which at present occurs is extremely frustrating and does not help attract business to the area”.
Mr Reeder added: “The minister was very sympathetic and accepted that removing congestion is key to economic growth within Lowestoft.”
In November, it was reported on how business and council leaders had called for urgent action from Network Rail to stop traffic building up in Bridge Road, Normanston Drive, and Gorleston Road.
As well as the signalling work, there are hopes that funds can be found to bring an unused section of platform back into the use and move a stop-board to further reduce the time taken by the barriers to rise and fall.
Mr Law said: “This has been an issue for some time now and, working together, we will do all that we can to help resolve it.”