Anger over Lowestoft travel chaos
Queues of cars stretched for miles through Lowestoft yesterday as roadworks on the edge of town caused traffic to bottleneck in the town centre.The A1117 Bridge Road is closed for roadworks and rail repairs, meaning that the Mutford Lock bridge - one of only two road crossings over Lake Lothing - is out of action for through traffic.
Queues of cars stretched for miles through Lowestoft yesterday as roadworks on the edge of town caused traffic to bottleneck in the town centre.
The A1117 Bridge Road is closed for roadworks and rail repairs, meaning that the Mutford Lock bridge - one of only two road crossings over Lake Lothing - is out of action for through traffic. With traffic being forced into the town centre to cross the bascule bridge yesterday, cars were soon queued back for miles - as far as Corton Road to the north, along Denmark Road to Peto Way and about two miles southwards along Tom Crisp Way to the junction with Long Road.
The closure of Bridge Road is caused by a combination of resurfacing works, being carried out by Suffolk County Council in the evenings and overnight, and work by Network Rail on the Oulton Broad North level crossing. The road is due to reopen at 6am tomorrow.
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard went to Oulton Broad yesterday morning to see the roadworks for himself. He said: 'What I found was Bridge Road closed to all traffic, with no work going on at all. Apart from the traffic jams this has caused through the centre of Lowestoft, these roadworks have had a devastating effect on the businesses on Bridge Road. Once again this shows how desperately Lowestoft needs a third crossing.'
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Peter Waller, of Romany Road in Oulton Broad, said the road where he lives has been closed to traffic because of fears that it would be used as a rat-run while Bridge Road is shut. He said: 'I live about 300 yards past the closure, but I can't drive to my own house. The only option is a detour right through Lowestoft, which is about five miles.
'These closures cause everybody to have to cross the bascule bridge when there is a perfectly feasible detour here which could be used. It's absolutely nonsensical.'
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The rush-hour traffic yesterday morning was worsened when the bascule bridge was raised just after 9am for a boat to pass into the port.
Roger Arundale, Associated British Ports' deputy port manager, said: 'A vessel entered the port after 9am to load grain. A further small craft was due to cause the bridge to be raised towards 10am. I believe that our marine staff and bridge operators encouraged it to move at the same time as the grain vessel to avoid a second raising of the bridge, but the movement was ultimately cancelled.
'We have restrictions on times that small craft can enter and leave the inner harbour to avoid disruption at busy times for traffic. Larger cargo vessels do not always have this degree of flexibility.'
A spokesman for the county council said: 'Network Rail had originally planned to do work and applied to close the road, so we thought rather than them doing their work and then us going back to resurface, it should all be done at once. The quietest time is half-term, which is why we are doing the work this week.'