The county’s leading business organisation took full opportunity of a meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Transport to press the local and national case for improvements to the A14 in Suffolk.
Chief executive John Dugmore and Nick Burfield, policy director, joined Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill in meeting with Jesse Norman MP in his House of Commons office.
“The No More A14 Delays in Suffolk campaign is one of our most important current strategic lobbying initiatives and we wanted to emphasise the importance of the highway not only to local businesses, but as the arterial route for goods passing through Felixstowe to and from the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.” explained John.
“I think the Minister got the message about the A14 in Suffolk and we were encouraged by his level of interest and the responses he gave.”
Jo Churchill MP added “the meeting was a constructive discussion about the importance of the A14 including, for my constituents, around Junction 43 and 44 of Bury St Edmunds.
“It is vital we continue to push for improvements to this stretch of national strategic infrastructure.”
Highways England, the government-owned company with responsibility for the operation, maintenance and improvement of the motorways and trunk roads in England, issued its Strategic Road Network Initial Report late last year.
Within it, the A14 in Suffolk is marked as a ‘current, planned and potential expressway’. Expressways are motorway-grade two-lane highways and their designation requires that all junctions off and onto them are enhanced.
The report outlines the phased process in upgrading a highway into an expressway, including improvements to junctions with other roads – the key demand of the Suffolk Chamber-led campaign which is calling for £800m of investment at seven pinch points.
Suffolk Chamber and its partners submitted their support for these proposals during the consultation by the Department for Transport (DfT) into this report at the beginning of the year.
The DfT is due to announce the successful schemes within the next year, with work expected to begin on these between 2020 and 2025.
The seven pinch points in question are:
- Junction 37 (Exning) where the A14 meets the busy A142
- Junction 43 (Bury St. Edmunds – Central) which suffers from significant tailbacks as it meets the A134
- Junction 44 (Bury St Edmunds – Moreton Hall) which suffers from significant tailbacks, with a major development still to be built
- Junction 55 (Copdock Interchange) where the A14 meets the busy A12 and A1214
- Junction 56 (Ipswich – Wherstead) which reaches its safe capacity at peak times, especially with HGVs
- Junction 57 (Ipswich – Ransomes Europark) which reaches its safe capacity at peak times, especially with HGVs
- Junction 58 (Ipswich – Seven Hills) where the A14 meets the busy A12