Road work chaos in Lowestoft will last until early May

Council leaders Mark Bee and Colin Law inspect the road problems  Photo: Mick Howes Council leaders Mark Bee and Colin Law inspect the road problems Photo: Mick Howes

Friday, March 21, 2014
9:15 AM

Motorists in Lowestoft have been given more bad news after it emerged that the roadworks which have brought the town to a standstill are set to continue until May 6 – more than a month longer than expected.

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The news came as action was demanded to resolve the latest bout of traffic chaos in Station Square, amid claims that the junction improvement work causing the delays has been “an absolute shambles”.

The latest problems began on Wednesday last week when temporary traffic lights were set up as part of the Suffolk County Council scheme at the A12-Commercial Road junction – leading to lengthy tailbacks.

After 10 days of severe congestion, which has seen drivers facing long queues on the approach to the A12 Bascule bridge, council leaders are now calling for temporary lights in Station Square to be removed.

The move will seek to ensure that northbound traffic can continue past the railway station without interruptions from the temporary signals, albeit with resulting diversions for some southbound drivers. But hopes that an end to the chaos might be in sight were dashed when it was confirmed that the work would continue until May 6 – having originally been scheduled to finish by the end of March. The delay is being blamed on problems linked to the hole that opened up in the road in front of the Joseph Conrad pub last month.

Meanwhile, the delays are causing frustration and anger among road users and local businesses.

Ted Eyers, who has run Pakefield-based ASC Motorschool since 1990, said he had lost money as a result of cancelled lessons.

He said: “The whole thing is an absolute shambles. I’ve been stuck in traffic for 45 minutes, and I hear other people have been stuck waiting to move for more than an hour.”

Stephen Pavey, chairman of Corton Parish Council, said: “I would suggest a public meeting be held to inform the county council that the residents of Lowestoft will no longer tolerate these problems and we want experts brought in to solve the traffic chaos. So who is up for the fight?”

In a bid to ease the congestion, county council leader Mark Bee and Waveney District Council leader Colin Law have asked the Highways Agency – which is responsible for the A12 – for an emergency traffic order.

If it agrees, the temporary lights would be removed. However, this would also mean that Station Square would be closed to all southbound traffic right up to the Denmark Road-Katwijk Way junction – leaving some drivers with a diversion of about a mile to reach the Bascule bridge.

On Wednesday, Mr Bee and Mr Law both visited the roadworks – which are designed to improve access onto the A12 from Commercial Road – and saw the delays they were causing.

Mr Bee said: “We completely understand and sympathise with local people who are being affected by these roadworks. They are needed to improve traffic flow around the port but they are coming soon after congestion caused by the hole by the Joseph Conrad pub, tidal floods and Anglian Water road works.

“Taken together, it’s causing significant inconvenience and action needs to be taken. We hope that Highways Agency will agree to our proposals which should help traffic flow more freely.”

Mr Law added: “I’m very pleased that the leader and senior officers of the county council have come to Lowestoft to tackle the problem of ongoing roadworks around Station Square.

“This is an important scheme with considerable longer term benefits. However, as leader of Waveney District Council, it is my responsibility to seek reassurances about the impact on the town and these discussions have been valuable.”

The county council is asking the Highways Agency to impose the emergency traffic order as the roads body is responsible for the A12 north of the Bascule bridge.

Describing the need for the order, a county council spokesman said; “There is no technical reason to suggest that the traffic management arrangements that were put in place would cause undue hold-ups. But in practice, delays have been experienced which is why we are proposing changes.”

Yesterday, Waveney MP Peter Aldous was at the House of Commons to ask the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin about the request made by the county council to teh Highways Agency.

Mr Aldous also secured a pledge from Mr McLoughlin to visit Lowestoft to see the town’s congestion problems and highlight the need for a new crossing over Lake Lothing.

Works to improve access from Commercial Road on to the A12 junction, started on January 27. Footways on the western side of the road will also be widened to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists between the Bascule Bridge and Station Square and a new toucan crossing is being installed for cyclists and pedestrians.

27 comments

  • has there ever been a circular one way system tried round the town

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    shamus

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Further to my comments of yesterday. I have an amendment to make - for Lake Lothing please read Lake Loathing.

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    MacRob

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

  • Could someone please explain why northbound traffic cannot go past the station without hold-ups as it always did. Is it not possible to get a temporary traffic light with a green straight ahead arrow on it????? I am totally confused why traffic now has to stop. As for no southbound traffic on Station Square - what a joke!!!! I'll bet the person responsible for this doesn't live in Lowestoft.

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    Grumpygramp

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Why don't we just fill in Lake Lothing and be done with it!!

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    MacRob

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • The sole blame for this fiasco lies with SCC for trying to turn Lowestoft in to a mini Ipswich, and with their dammed warped fetish with traffic lights. And for letting people who don't live here keep coming up with this rubbish year in year out. its got to stop! and the best way is to stop voting for these clowns.

    Report this comment

    Sifu

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • Glad I moved out of Lowestoft recently. It's faster for me to drive to north lowestoft from Yarmouth than it is coming from south lowestoft and having to cross the bridge. Never thought adding an extra 15 miles on to my journey would actually cut down the journey time.

    Report this comment

    lpeek

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Colin Law's stance just about sums it all up! - hands in pockets, doing nothing - just like the rest of his Tory led council henchmen. Why isn't he wearing a high visibility jacket like his boss Mark Bee? As for hard safety hats I guess the three not wearing them have no brains to protect anyway.

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    MacRob

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Kim jong-un declares Station Square a no go area.

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    Sherbert

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • @Jaydee - I'm sure your anticipation of a grand opening (please supply your own joke!) is correct. This scheme will be about as helpful as the wonderful 'transport interchange' at the Railway Station. I endure the rain and wind at the completely unprotected bus stop opposite, along with many others needing to travel south. I have only ever seen one person at the 'interchange'; they were sheltering from the rain and walked away when it stopped.

    Report this comment

    point du jour

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • I was astonished when I came upon the pavement closure to one side of the bridge - why - there is no reason why it should not remain open. It is an absolute shambles and now very dangerous for cyclists, at the best of times the car rules and you take your life in your hands trying to cycle over the bridge on the road, the other day there was no room for me to push my cycle along the pavement, there were so many pedestrians, mobility carriages and pushchairs that it was impossible. So I took to road and was nudged twice by anxious motorists who thought they could squeeze past, I was sworn at and told to get out of their way. I couldn't escape because of the divisions that had been erected. Yellow jackets just stood by and watched! No thought has been given to the safe passage of cyclists in all of this, once again until we become a fatality statistic we are invisible in Lowestoft! I am furious!!

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    Griff

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • This is absolutely pathetic – as usual. NorfolkLassie is right, this chaos is unhelpful for tourism, however it is also making life very difficult for people travelling by car or bus to work, education, medical appointments and into town for shopping, banking, or something resembling a social life. Even walking into Lowestoft along the seafront takes a bit longer now that there is no pedestrian access to the east side of the bridge, which is the usual route for most. The large numbers of people now obliged to use the light-controlled pedestrian crossing near the Harbour Hotel must be exacerbating the traffic queues. How can this minor junction modification (which I suspect will cause more problems than it solves) take in excess of three months to complete?

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    point du jour

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • The reason the traffic now turns left is that when Lowestoft was a busy port, the traffic turned right, but this created too many snarl-ups and delays. The road was completely blocked by the crossing. All we are doing is reversing the position, only this time, traffic lights will be introduced, giving greater opportunity for snarl-ups. The only saving grace is that Lowestoft is no longer a busy port. By introducing a right-turn and traffic lights, Lowestoft will be brought to standstill - as it was last week.

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    Peter Colby

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • Has anyone ever considered turning Station Square into a roundabout?

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    MacRob

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Great so that makes for a poor May bank holiday, yet another tourism opportunity wasted because of poor time management. Have they even considered night works to catch up on the original timetable? doubt it!

    Report this comment

    NorfolkLassie

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Omnishambles is an understatement! When the new lights are in place the left filter going north will cease...and as for the need for the third crossing...we don't need another opening bridge or similar...there are no longer any more tall ships etc coming upriver past the grain silo so let's be bold and go for a bridge like Haddiscoe with a majestic sweeping approach along each side of the river... so that the small craft can easily slip under...no need for any traffic queues...we need to keep traffic moving!

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

  • Omnishambles is an understatement! When the new lights are in place the left filter going north will cease...and as for the need for the third crossing...we don't need another opening bridge or similar...there are no longer any more tall ships etc coming upriver past the grain silo so let's be bold and go for a bridge like Haddiscoe with a majestic sweeping approach along each side of the river... so that the small craft can easily slip under...no need for any traffic queues...we need to keep traffic moving!

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

  • Here's a question... Just how many vehicles are we talking about that need to turn right here? Answer: certainly no where near enough to account for the undoubted chaos the persistent halting of the left hand lane going North will cause. It seems we are catering for the freight the 'one in every 15 year' ship will bring! If the port does become more busy then the bridge will go up more often. Us poor Lowestoftians are on to a lose-lose situation until those clueless clowns in authority come to their senses and give the town what we all desperately need.

    Report this comment

    Kendo

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • Please attend the conference on the 15th of April and tell it the way it is. Lowestoft needs: No1 a barrage and a road crossing.If we do not attend the meeting it will be rigged in favour of the flawed action plan , social housing. not jobs.

    Report this comment

    Peter Colby

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • Where is the public meeting to discuss the shambles taking place - I suppose the chaos is having an effect on Oulton Broad with the ever closed train gates. I wonder how many people can guess the age and year of experience of the traffic planner, from Ipswich is. I can tell you he is 21 years old and has been to Lowestoft no more than a dozen times in as many years, how do I know he is my nephew. What was wrong with the old traffic plan when the traffic going south from Denmark Road went straight through Suffolk road and joined the traffic travelling South by the fish market, carried on towards Station Square and turned left over the bridge to go South or right to go North, it was that way for many years and when the town was busy with the fishmarket being busy, Beecham foods, Coop, Richargds shipyard, Brooke marine, coupled with all the trawler repair companies working from workshops in Commercial Road, the traffic flow was much better then. What idiot decided that traffic wanting to travel North or towards Battery Green Rd should cross the path of Southbound traffic heading over the bridge, its was much smoother in the old days, not much common sense required really is there. Our council should ask the local residents and business people for suggestions on traffic improvements rather than push something though for approval without any real practicle thought. I gues the next big mistake for our council will be the developement of the former Sanyo works, will the properties be for management or working class people, or housing association? I am glad I do not live in Lowestoft any longer, where the town clowns do just as they like and get away with it.

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    CC

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • All these people making these stupid decisions should be put in a hole and covered over with tarmac!! Looking forward to my drive home again today; will I beat the two hours it took my last week for a drive that normally or should take 4045 minutes. Cluesless morons!!

    Report this comment

    Erased Citizen

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • A question. Just how many lorries will need to be turning right, out of Commercial Road, each day? The answer is nowhere near enough to justify this junction change and predicted chaos when all light configurations are changed. I hardly ever see anyone using Commercial Road. I can only presume its being done to cater for ABP handling the big ships that come in once every 15 years! So there you have it... 3 lanes of traffic stopped every minute, to let hardly anyone out - genius... And if more ships do use the port, then the bridge will go up more often - sounds to me like a lose-lose situation. If the council had not cocked-up the road system already, those wanting to turn right could have used Suffolk Road!

    Report this comment

    Kendo

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • I also moved myself and my small business away from Lowestoft last November, purely to escape the daily traffic chaos. Life and daily commute is so much better and easier to plan now. Another 4 Lowestoft jobs lost to another area

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    DaveG

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • I'm so glad I left Lowestoft. A hopeless road system with a totally useless council to oversee it. Not fit for purpose,any of them.

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    kevin bacon

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Great so that makes for a poor May bank holiday, yet another tourism opportunity wasted because of poor time management. Have they even considered night works to catch up on the original timetable? doubt it!

    Report this comment

    NorfolkLassie

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Point du Joir makes a valid observation in his last paragraph. Just what will this pointless exercise really achieve once completed? In the meantime all the various agencies are stalling for time, so that when they do get their fingers out, it will be time for some twerp to come along and proudly declare this worthwhile venture 'open'.

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    Jaydee

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Ever since they let Paul Moss lose on the town with his pathetic sunrises scheme it has been a fiasco. It was supposed at the time to be an experiment. Guess what? it hasn't workedr.WDC and SCC minions couldn't run a bath let alone a town.

    Report this comment

    kevin bacon

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

  • The above photo sums them up, the Two Nero's fiddling while Lowestoft burns springs to mind.

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    Sifu

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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