Leaders vow to maintain pressure on Department for Transport for A14 improvements from 2020

PUBLISHED: 15:04 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:04 12 March 2018

The A14 near Bury St Edmunds is one of the areas campaigners would like to see improved. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The A14 near Bury St Edmunds is one of the areas campaigners would like to see improved. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk public leaders have vowed to continue lobbying for improvements to the A14, as bosses eye government funding from 2020 to tackle key pinch points.

The No More A14 Delays in Suffolk campaign which was launched by the Chamber of Commerce in 2015 has been lobbying for major investment in the A14, with particular focus on key junctions which experience high traffic in Suffolk.

The first phase of a programme of improvements announced by the Department for Transport in its Road Investment Strategy (RIS1) saw work nationwide from 2015-2020.

Now, campaigners in Suffolk are continuing to make the case for the A14 to be included in the second wave of work (RIS2) – due to happen between 2020 and 2025 – as cases are put forward before an announcement next year.

Speaking at Friday’s Suffolk Public Sector Leaders meeting – a decision making body of council leaders, chief executives and other civic leaders, Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “We have got to do everything we possibly can to keep the A14 going – it’s of international significance as well as at home.”

He added: “It’s quite clear this is definitely about getting the economy going, not just in Suffolk but nationally as well.”

Leaders said the road’s link from the Port of Felixstowe almost to the Midlands made it vital for investment.

The meeting agreed to fund £20,000 to continue supporting the campaign, which will allow further lobbying for the A14 to be included in the next phase of DfT improvements, RIS2.

In December, Highways England published its Strategic Road Network report which set out an intention to turn the A14 into an ‘expressway’.

The seven pinch points where traffic movement is at its slowest includes junctions 55-58 – those around Ipswich – as well as at Exning where the A14 meets the A142, and junctions 43 and 44 for Bury St Edmunds.

Nick Burfield from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce who presented the report on Friday said: “We have just had the Highways England report which suggests the A14 in Suffolk as a potential expressway, and I think that’s a very good step forward.

“I think all of our lobbying will make sure we keep up that [drive towards that] status.”

What is an Expressway?

An Expressway is to be a new classification of road between a motorway and a traditional dual carriageway to show a route that would flow faster than at present.

Roads would be designated A(M) – therefore the roads in Suffolk would be called A12(M) and A14(M) and motorway restrictions would be introduced.

There would be no slow-moving agricultural machines allowed to use them. Traffic would not be held up by tractors on the Orwell Bridge.

And junctions would be improved to allow traffic to join and leave the road at the speed of the prevailing traffic.

There would be extra emergency spaces at the side for vehicles to pull off – but roads would remain two-lane, rather than three, for most of their length.

And their roadsigns would be painted blue like motorways rather than green like principle A routes at present.

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