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Lowestoft merge in turn relief in sight

PUBLISHED: 08:24 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:52 06 July 2010

RELIEF could be in sight for frustrated motorists in Lowestoft as moves were unveiled this week to improve the "merge in turn" operation on the approach to the bascule bridge.

RELIEF could be in sight for frustrated motorists in Lowestoft as moves were unveiled this week to improve the “merge in turn” operation on the approach to the bascule bridge.

Ever since The Journal revealed in June how police chiefs had issued an appeal for drivers to join from two lanes into one, on the northbound route into town, a debate has subsequently been sparked.

And today, after weeks of calls for courtesy were followed by complaints from some enraged drivers, an end looks set to be in sight to the on running saga that has divided much of Lowestoft.

For a month after drivers were warned by officers that they may face a fine or prosecution if they don't use a two-lane system in the town correctly, a new signage system is set to be installed in Belvedere Road.

This week (Wednesday), Waveney MP Bob Blizzard organised a site meeting with police chiefs, transport and highways officials at the problem spot.

Key officials were told how since the redevelopment of the Horn Hill area, many drivers had failed to use the two lane system heading off the Asda roundabout towards the bascule bridge in the correct manner.

Reiterating how the purpose of this second - right hand - lane is to stop traffic congestion to allow vehicles to “merge in turn” prior to the traffic lights on the junction of Belvedere Road and London Road South, police this week told the highways department how this was “a policing priority.”

And after a successful meeting, Mr Blizzard said: “Although the police have appealed to motorists to use both lanes as far as they can and then `merge in turn' as they are supposed to do, many people still feel it is wrong to use the outside lane.

“I have been pushing for some time for signs to make it clear that vehicles do need to use both lanes to reduce the length of the tail back, and for drivers to then merge in an orderly fashion at the point where the outside lane runs out when the contraflow operates on the bridge.

“I'm pleased to say that at this site meeting, officials from the Department for Transport and Suffolk Council Council's Highways agreed a new signage system which will achieve this,” he said. “It should make life easier for road users and end arguments between drivers as to who is in the right.”

A police spokesman said: “We have been asking motorists to try and adopt this system ahead of the signs being put place and we are delighted that this will now be going ahead.

“We would like to thank those who have followed our requests and supported the courteous approach, and would encourage more people to use the system as it was designed to be used in advance of the formal introduction of the new signing.”

It will now take a few months to formally approve, make and install the new signs. And police were quick to stress their warning to motorists that their position “remained the same” this week as the area will continue to be monitored by patrols.

Driver's found not using the system correctly may face being issued with a fixed penalty ticket, a £30 or £60 fine, three points on their licence or possible prosecution at court.

Do you think the new measures could help the flow of traffic? Write to Postbox, The Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, NR32 1NB, or email russell.cook@archant.co.uk

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