Text Only Version Last Update: Press Releases (22 May 2006)
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A14 could become a car park, warns MP
Bury Free Press, 24 February 2004
BURY St Edmunds is in danger of becoming gridlocked as it struggles to cope with the increasing demands on its roads.
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Last week, the Bury Free Press revealed how the number of future housing projects are being scaled down due to the town's limited infrastructure.
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Now, Bury and Stowmarket MP David Ruffley has raised fears that the road network around the A14 could grind to a complete standstill.
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"Anyone who tries to drive into town during peak times via the Moreton Hall or central interchanges knows what a nightmare it is," he said.
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"With the number of new homes we are talking about over the next 12 years, it's only going to get worse unless something is done now.
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"The interchanges will simply become a car park and people might as well just put their handbrakes on because they won't be able to go anywhere."
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Mr Ruffley was speaking after the Highways Agency raised its own concerns about the impact of housing developments on the town.
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In a letter to Mr Ruffley, the agency's chief executive Archie Robertson said there was a real chance that Bury's expansion could affect the A14.
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"The agency has concerns that developments that result in increased use of these roundabouts will add to the existing congestion," he wrote.
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"This may result in traffic queuing on the A14, which, as you will appreciate, would be unacceptable from a highway safety point of view."
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A report commissioned by the agency looked at five possible housing sites within Bury and the effect they would have on the A14.
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Of the five, three of the sites those at Rougham Road, Moreton Hall and the Howard Estate were all found to impact heavily on the interchanges.
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With 4,000 more homes needed in the borough by 2016, there is a need to balance any new development against their environmental impact.
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However, Mr Ruffley claimed the report had paid no attention to a string of other developments that were likely to bring traffic into the town.
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"Land near Station Hill, the Cattle Market and the new cinema have all been earmarked for development over the next few years," said Mr Ruffley.
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"All these will be pulling more people into Bury. But how are they going to get into the town if they are queuing back up the A14?"
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