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Road opening brings relief to Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 07:45 28 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

Decades of frustration, controversy and anticipation came to an end yesterday when the £30m Lowestoft relief road was officially opened. Hailed as a boost to the town's economy and regeneration, the road has been designed to ease congestion along the A12 and divert traffic away from residential areas.

Decades of frustration, controversy and anticipation came to an end yesterday when the £30m Lowestoft relief road was officially opened.

Hailed as a boost to the town's economy and regeneration, the road has been designed to ease congestion along the A12 and divert traffic away from residential areas.

But after years of false starts, potential legal battles and other problems, a host of dignitaries was on hand to cut the ribbon for the 2.63- mile stretch of road, which cuts through Kirkley.

The road has been called the single biggest investment for the town and has taken about 18 months to construct.

Although work will continue around the road until November, including work near the Bascule Bridge, motorists were able to make their first journeys down the road yesterday afternoon.

As well as the official opening, the road was also named in honour of a first world war hero from the town, by his granddaughter.

The road was officially opened by Lord Tollemache, the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk.

"I know this scheme has huge significance for everyone here in Lowestoft and marks another important point in the regeneration of the town," he said. "It sums up the spirit of Lowestoft that is brave in

the face of difficulties and is determined to do the right thing."

And he also raised the possibility of a link, which could raise spirits across Lowestoft and the rest of the country.

"Like all schemes this has been long in the making," he said. "I am struck reading the history that the corridor was first identified in 1966, the last time England won the World Cup. Let's hope that it is more than coincidence that we are opening the road in 2006, another World Cup year."

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who has actively campaigned for the road, said it was a "great day" for Lowestoft.

"This is the largest single investment any government has made in the town and I think it will make a huge difference and improve the quality of life of so many people by taking traffic away from some of the Victorian road network and putting them here," he said.

Mr Blizzard added that the road led straight to the harbour, opening up the potential for more investment in the town.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said the road was another step towards the regeneration of the town.

"I hope you all agree this scheme assists the regeneration of Lowestoft and is a scheme of vital importance to Lowestoft," he said.

"It also offers a lot of environmental benefits to Lowestoft - such as the creation of reedbeds and several ponds along the road, which will be used to store storm water and reduce flooding, as well as being an important habitat for wildlife.

"I am sure it will have a huge impact on those who live in the area and businesses in Lowestoft."

From now on, the road will be known as Tom Crisp Way in honour of the fisherman who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his courage when a German submarine surfaced and opened fire on his smack, Nelson.

Skipper Crisp was below deck, packing fish, when the shell hit the boat below the water line and another shell passed through the ship, mortally wounding the skipper, who went on directing operations.

He gave the order to abandon ship but he was too badly injured to be moved and went down with the Nelson.

Tom Crisp's name and deeds were cited in the London Gazette of November 2, 1917, and yesterday his granddaughter, Doreen Hague, 80, unveiled a sign carrying the name of the new road.

"I am so proud," she said. "He was a marvellous man and was a wonderful skipper to everybody on board. "Everybody said he was a marvellous man."

Mrs Hague, who lives in Gunton, north Lowestoft, said she still commemorated the date of her grandfather's death every year.

Yesterday's opening of the road also marked a remarkable circle for contractor Breheny, which said building Tom Crisp Way was one of its biggest ever jobs.

Just a few yards from the site of the new road is the family bungalow where Irishman Jack Breheny founded the company more than 40 years ago, after working his way up from teaboy in London in the 1930s.

Now, it has a turnover approaching £100m a year and 450 employees.


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