A14 summit brings agencies together for action

Tim Passmore hosted a meeting at Police Headquarters on March 6th to discuss the recent, and all too frequent, chaos caused by traffic diverting through Ipswich and surrounding villages.

Tim said “The congestion caused by issues of the A14 needs our very urgent attention. At present arrangements are very chaotic and it is clear we need to introduce more rigour into the diversion process, signage and stacking arrangements.

“I have spoken to Cllr Graham Newman, as the county council’s political lead on transport, to discuss the issue and we agreed that we need to work together to better manage future closures of the A14 caused by storms or collisions.

“The meeting brought together all organisations who are affected by, or have responsibility for, closures to consider the options. It was a very positive meeting, with everyone fully engaged and willing to find solutions although appreciated there is not magic wand.”

The actions from the meeting were:

The Highways Agency will share the performance targets for their new contractor (to include the agreed timescale to arrive at an incident).

The Constabulary will consider what more they can do to support controlling traffic i.e. use of specials/potential to accredit volunteers to control traffic for planned closures.

SCC, IBC and the Highways Agency will review the current diversion routes to ensure it supports the most effective diversion around Ipswich and supports the flow of traffic on and to the A14 and A12.
Investigate whether changes to traffic light sequencing could keep main flow of traffic moving during A14 diversions through the town centre

The Constabulary will look at the use of Police Direct to communicate with the public re Orwell Bridge.

The Highways Agency will consider whether there is the possibility for increasing threshold for closing the bridge, by reducing the speed limit in high winds.

Everyone agreed there was political will and all round support for making a compelling case to government for a Northern Bypass

Variable Messaging Signs – Highways Agency to consider using route based strategy funding to support better signage for A12 (particularly through Essex). General agreement to look at use of VMS and improving signage in Ipswich

Tim Passmore and Cllr Graham Newman will look at longer term solution to the slip road at the filling station near the bridge –potential to use restaurant land to change the layout of the slip road.

Draft LEP Plan included £130m investment in the A14 – All partners need to communicate back on that plan to ensure that investment is put into the A14 and is used effectively to solve some of the issues discussed.

Tim Passmore will write to Environment Agency to understand their role and their powers in clearing collisions

Organisation represented at the meeting:

Office of the Suffolk PCC
Suffolk County Council
Suffolk Constabulary
Port of Felixstowe
Highways Agency
Associated British Ports
Charting Success Ltd
Federation of Small Businesses
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce
Ipswich Borough Council
MP for Suffolk Coastal
Babergh District Council
Suffolk Coastal District Council
CLA/Benacre Estates Co.