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Bid to cut town congestion

PUBLISHED: 10:42 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:45 05 July 2010

A battle to cut gridlock in Lowestoft has produced two rival schemes as proposals for a third river crossing go head-to-head with plans for a new relief road in the north of the town.

A battle to cut gridlock in Lowestoft has produced two rival schemes as proposals for a third river crossing go head-to-head with plans for a new relief road in the north of the town.

Hopes for a third crossing have been boosted now that the Highways Agency has agreed to carry out a feasibility study into the project and it has made its way on to a list of schemes which could get cash in the future from the East of England Regional Assembly (Eera).

People have been calling for another bridge to be built over Lake Lothing for decades, claiming that the existing bascule and Mutford lock bridges are insufficient for the traffic flowing through the town.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard welcomed the news. He said: “This is exactly what we wanted. The crossing was on similar funding lists in the early 1990s but was pushed aside. Now for the first time since then it is back on and that's really great news. We never expected that it would go to the top of the list straightaway but now we're on it we can concentrate on working our way up. The ball is rolling and we will get there. It's what Lowestoft needs.”

Mr Blizzard has been lobbying for the Highways Agency to consider helping with the third crossing project for some time because Suffolk County Council - the area's highways authority - does not think Lowestoft needs a new bridge.

The council has submitted its own projects on to Eera's list of possible schemes, including plans for an extension to the Lowestoft northern spine road - which it believes would cut congestion in the town without the need for a third crossing - and the A144 Bungay bypass.

The spine road - a 1½-mile stretch linking the A1117 Millennium Way with the A12 Yarmouth Road - would divert traffic away from homes on Bentley Drive on the Parkhill Estate.

Guy McGregor, council portfolio holder for roads and transport, said: “The spine road would complete the missing link in the north of the town for people driving through Lowestoft… it would reduce congestion at bottlenecks. As for the Bungay bypass, I'm determined that the needs of our smaller towns are recognised. We're trying to do more to improve traffic flow in Bungay and have already imposed a one-way lorry-movement system.”

He said that pushing for funding for larger projects in the district could also give a boost to smaller schemes, including the long-awaited passing loop for trains at Beccles which would allow for hourly trains from Lowestoft to Liverpool Street.

“We're working hard to get all of these much-needed improvements for the county. We will continue to push hard for the passing loop,” said Mr McGregor.

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