Suffolk: Port traffic “may not be better off” as a result of A14 upgrade

Congestion on the A14. Congestion on the A14.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
6:30 AM

Traffic travelling from the Suffolk ports “may not be better off” as a result of the A14 upgrade unless a completely new road is built, a transport academic has claimed.

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David Metz, from the centre for transport studies at University College London, told the Commons transport select committee there was a risk an upgraded road would simply fill up with local traffic from around Cambridge.

His comments come after the Chancellor axed plans to toll a new stretch of the A14 following a campaign by local business leaders and politicians in the region.

Asked about his views on the concept of road tolls during an inquiry into better roads, Dr Metz said: “One approach to dealing with localised congestion is tolling, and the M6 toll is an example of that. Where for a modest fee £5 or so for a car, long distance traffic can proceed unimpeded while the main M6 is used for local trips.”

It is not yet clear what the shape of the A14 plans will look like after the plans to charge for the road were axed.

But Dr Metz said: “The risk is, because Cambridge is an economically dynamic area with a growing population, the new road will fill up with traffic, particularly at peak times, so the long distance traffic from the East Coast ports to the Midlands and beyond may not be better off.

“So tolling may have a role, but it will only be when you can put in place a new road, because you cannot start very easily or politically tolling an existing road.”

Karen Dee, director of policy at the Freight Transport Association, who was also giving evidence to the committee said that her member had not ruled out tolling roads on a case by case basis. “I think our members are willing to consider it. They are business users and they will make a business decision as to whether it is worth paying for.”

11 comments

  • KeithS. I agree, but although drivers go at below the speed limit, they always have a tendency to slow down when approaching speed cameras. Another problem is that lorries overtaking other lorries, that can only just overtake, force the traffic to bunch up behind them, especially on the dual carriageway sections.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • No real evidence that lorries use the M6 toll to any extent. Experts should be expected to support their claims rather than assume everyone will believe anything they say.

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    amsterdam81

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Yet another unqualified university non jobber trying to make a name for themselves.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • LLCK. You also forgot the pathetic "average speed cameras". and "speed cameras" around Cambridge and Huntingdon. These also slow the traffic. They are only there as a revenue raising exercise.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Like it or not its a valid point of view that should be considered. Having the new stretch of road gull of local traffic will be of little help.

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    KeithS

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • There is a simple and cheap way to reduce 'local traffic', have less junctions. The road is cheaper to build as you have less slip roads to build (and less up keep) plus the local traffic won't use it because they would have to travel miles to find the next exit.

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    fredjag

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • No mention of the Catthorpe 'interchange' then? That's the bottle neck, IMO. M6 traffic can queue for miles to get on the A14. The entire road was done on the cheap in the early '90s

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    LLCK

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • "V" as much as I dislike speed cameras I have to conclude if you drive within the letter of the law they are not an issue.

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    KeithS

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Alternatively these containers could be unloaded straight onto a train and hauled through Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to a transfer station in the Midlands which would save double handling in Felixstowe. Spend the money on a rail line, the number of lorries on the A14 that would be removed from service would surely justify the expense and allow the road to be used by local light traffic with impunity.

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    George Ezekial

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • We have lots of speed cameras up here in Scotland and they cause mayhem, even when travelling at the speed limit, the natural reaction is to brake as you glance down to double check, this goes all the way back down the line of traffic

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    DaveG

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • The container traffic should ideally be on the railway over this route. Containers are designed for inter-modal traffic. Ship to train to freight depot to truck. Better for the environment too. Get the freight trains used more by joined up logistics thinking, some companies do this already, some need to revisit their actual trunk road needs.

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    Dave01

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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

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