Work finally begins on reducing delays at notorious Oulton Broad level crossing

Improvement work has started at the Oulton Broad North level crossing.

Improvement work has started at the Oulton Broad North level crossing. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Long-awaited improvements to cut the time drivers spend waiting at a notorious level crossing have finally got under way – to the joy of motorists, residents and businesses in the area.

Improvement work has started at the Oulton Broad North level crossing.

Improvement work has started at the Oulton Broad North level crossing. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The Oulton Broad North level crossing has long been a bugbear for people in Lowestoft with long queues caused when the barriers go down to let trains through on their way to Norwich.

The only other route into Lowestoft is via the equally frustrating bascule bridge, meaning drivers are often trapped in tailbacks whichever route they take.

But in recent years Waveney MP Peter Aldous has teamed up with Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council to try to alleviate the issue.

They have lobbied the government but had a fight on their hands after Network Rail indicated the planned improvements to the signalling – which will reduce the time the barriers are down – would be delayed.

However after lobbying the government, the work was brought forward and finally began on Monday.

It is due to be completed in October.

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Mr Aldous said: 'This is a significant step along the way to improving traffic flow by using more of the platform at Oulton Broad.

'With the work on the bascule bridge due to be announced shortly, and this work, it will improve traffic flow in and around Lowestoft which has long been overdue.'

James Reeder, chairman of Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce, added: 'I think it will be a great boost to businesses and to the community.

'It is a very important crossing and method for people to get in and out of Lowestoft from one side of Lake Lothing to the other.

'It will reduce the time the barrier is down by half. Currently it can be down for anything between two-and-a-half minutes to three minutes.

'The improvements can only be a good thing as it will allow that piece of road to be used more. It is something that we have been campaigning on for many, many years.'

The new scheme will see the signal crossing moved 50m from its current location, allowing trains travelling from Lowestoft to Norwich to enter the station without the barriers coming down until the train departs.

Do you drive through the Oulton Broad North level crossing? If so how will this affect you? Write, giving your full contact details, to simon.ward@archant.co.uk

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