Lowestoft relief road signs 'bizarre'

JONATHAN REDHEAD Traffic signs erected on Lowestoft's new £30m relief road are “bizarre”, an MP declared last night just days after the road was opened officially. Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said people would be “flabbergasted” at the way Suffolk County Council had erected road signs that direct northbound traffic away from the new road.

JONATHAN REDHEAD

Traffic signs erected on Lowestoft's new £30m relief road are “bizarre”, an MP declared last night just days after the road was opened officially.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said people would be “flabbergasted” at the way Suffolk County Council had erected road signs that direct northbound traffic away from the new road.

But the MP's comments were branded “outrageous” by county transport chiefs, who said that signs would be changed once all of the work on the relief road was complete.

Instead of directing motorists down the new road, Tom Crisp Way, and over Lowestoft's Bascule Bridge, drivers are sent along the A1117 and through Oulton Broad and the busy Bridge Road level crossing before rejoining the A12 to the north of the town centre.

Mr Blizzard said that was “unacceptable” for local residents who thought their traffic concerns would be eased by the new road, which was officially opened on Tuesday.

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“The government gave the council £30m to build the South Lowestoft Relief Road to relieve older roads, some of which were originally built for the horse and cart,” Mr Blizzard said.

“Yet the council signing strategy directs northbound through traffic away from the new road.

“People will be flabbergasted that this traffic is not being directed on to the brand new road we all thought had been built to take it.

“Residents who will still suffer the heavy traffic past their homes will find this unacceptable. It also means that traffic is still being directed over the Oulton Broad North level crossing - perpetuating the long tail backs that bring Oulton Broad to a halt.”

Mr Blizzard said senior figures at the council told him traffic was directed away from the Bascule Bridge to reduce pressure on it.

“Their admission that the Bascule Bridge can't cope makes the case for the third crossing that people in Lowestoft know we need,” he said.

Last night, Guy McGregor, the council's portfolio holder for roads and transport said Mr Blizzard's claims were “outrageous”.

And he added that the signs would not be the same once the all the work on the relief road, including sections near the busy Bascule Bridge, were finished later this year.

“This road is not a gift,” he said. “The money came after a successful bid by the county council. The money has all come from the taxpayer in the first place.

“It doesn't grow on trees.”

Mr McGregor said that Mr Blizzard's “outburst” was not a good sign for co-operation and work on future projects in Lowestoft.

He said the council was committed to regeneration projects in Lowestoft - with or without Mr Blizzard's backing.