Call for changes to relief road to ensure traffic is diverted to new route
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Concerns have been raised over the effectiveness of Beccles' long-awaited relief road as residents and councillors campaign for changes to be made.
Construction of the Beccles Southern Relief Road started in August last year, with the £7m scheme aiming to remove heavy traffic from the centre of Beccles.
The 2km road will connect the A145 London Road to Ellough Road, providing an alternative route for commercial through traffic to bypass the town centre.
However Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, a town councillor and Suffolk county councillor for Beccles, said she was unaware that the new relief road would be labelled a B-road instead of an A-road, and is concerned that lorry drivers who rely on sat navs and road signs will continue to be routed on the A145 through the town.
She said: 'I am trying to get the county council to implement a range of measures starting from the day the relief road opens to traffic. This includes diverting the A145 out of town and making the through routes less attractive by means of reduced speed limits and strict weight limits.'
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Her concerns are shared by district councillor for Beccles North, Graham Elliott, who said the opportunity needs to be seized to make Beccles a safer and more attractive place to live and work, along with local residents.
One resident, Ray Simmons, said: 'As a pedestrian I was dismayed to learn that the relief road is to be designated as a B-road. This defies logic: it is brand new in design and construction and is intended to take heavy vehicles – inevitably superior to much of the existing A145 to which it links. Moreover, not designating it 'A' implies that the existing principal route through the town is satisfactory.'
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The road is being funded jointly by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Suffolk County Council.
Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council's deputy leader and interim cabinet member for highways and transport, said: 'While the road will not be the A145, it will be signed for the Ellough Industrial Estate and Lowestoft will be signed along the new road at the western end and Ipswich at the eastern end, to guide traffic along the route, reducing journey times and taking traffic out of the centre of Beccles.'
Work on the relief road started in August 2017, more than a year behind schedule following complications with the purchase of the land.
A compulsory purchase order was needed to give Suffolk County Council the right to obtain the land, and after objections were made a public inquiry took place last summer.
In March, the Journal reported that the Secretary of State for Transport had confirmed the compulsory purchase and side roads orders, meaning construction of the road could go ahead.
The road is being funded with £5m from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and £2m from Suffolk County Council.
The build is being undertaken by the Suffolk-based Jackson Civil Engineering, who previously constructed the Lowestoft Northern Relief Road, and is expected to be completed this summer.