Two months of A14 night closures planned for Ipswich as Brexit transition period ends
- Credit: Andrew Partridge
Two months of roadworks have been organised for the A14 near Ipswich in the new year – starting just four days after the Brexit transition period ends when port queues are expected to be at their worst.
Highways England has confirmed two months of night closures between 8pm and 6am will begin from January 4 for the stretch of dual carriageway between the Claydon and Copdock junctions (52 and 55), with 50mph daytime speed restrictions.
But questions have been raised over the timing of the work when Britain’s transition period for leaving the European Union ends on December 31, and queues are anticipated at the country’s ports as additional checks take place.
The A14 is a key route for freight heading to and from the Port of Felixstowe, and while diversions are planned to run along the B1113, London Road and the A12, there are expectations that traffic will also divert through Ipswich itself.
Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: “We would always encourage Highways England or the county council if they are undertaking roadworks to do it at a period where it’s doing the least disruption.
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“Overnight and during the school holiday period is clearly when you would like those to be undertaken, and when Highways England are proposing to do this work would normally be the ideal time.
“However, this issue around the transition period there means there is a huge amount of uncertainty and I would have thought these proposals would need to be deferred until after the situation was clearer.”
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Mr Ellesmere added that further disruption to the economy could not be justified when Covid-19 had already caused so much damage to businesses.
It is not yet clear if Suffolk is to get a lorry park to provide space for lorries to queue if delays become severe.
According to Highways England, the work is for carriageway repairs, drainage clearance, replacement road markings and work on studs.
Christopher Hudson, county councillor for Sproughton said: “I support Sproughton’s demands to be consulted urgently on this matter so we know exactly what stress Sproughton will be facing in the new year.
“I have written urgently today to call for a meeting with Highways England – we don’t want Sproughton high street to be the road to hell.”
It is understood to be part of a wider scheme by Highways England on concrete roads in East Anglia, although details for that have not yet been published.
A Suffolk Highways spokeswoman said: “These works are very much in the early stages of planning, however we are talking to Highways England about the impact these works will have on our local roads in Suffolk and will ensure detailed communications are issued well in advance of the works taking place.”
A spokeswoman from Sproughton Parish Council said: “Sproughton Parish Council are disappointed to hear of the proposed work by Highways England via the press rather than direct from Highways England.
“We have had discussions with Highways England previously over the use of Sproughton as a diversion route when work happens on the A14 to attempt to minimise the impact on the village or consider alternatives.
“Unfortunately the last time the A14 was closed for overnight work it was highly disruptive for the residents on the High Street and Lower Street. We look forward to engaging further with Highways England in order to define a solution that works.”