MP vows to step up signs campaign

PUBLISHED: 10:48 29 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:06 05 July 2010

AN MP has stepped up his campaign for road signs to be changed so vehicles are directed away from traffic-choked Oulton Broad on to Lowestoft's £30m relief road.

AN MP has stepped up his campaign for road signs to be changed so vehicles are directed away from traffic-choked Oulton Broad on to Lowestoft's £30m relief road.

Two-and-a-half years after the new road was opened, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard has accused Suffolk County Council of failing to keep a promise to change the signs once central Lowestoft roadworks and repairs to the bascule bridge had been completed.

Signs still direct traffic heading north to Yarmouth along the A1117, through Oulton Broad, prompting scores of complaints to Mr Blizzard from angry residents.

Mr Blizzard said: “The government gave Suffolk County Council £30m to build Tom Crisp Way specifically as a relief road… Yet the council put up road signs that direct northbound traffic through Oulton Broad instead - providing no relief at all to the residents living there.

“I have already received 126 letters from residents in and around Oulton Broad all complaining about this unnecessary traffic causing congestion at the level crossing, in Bridge Street and along Normanston Drive.”

The 2.6-mile relief road opened in June 2006 and was designed to ease congestion along the A12 and divert traffic away from residential areas.

Mr Blizzard added: “By correcting the signs so that traffic is directed along Tom Crisp Way instead, this would go a long way to relieving the notorious congestion at the level crossing in Oulton Broad.

“Now that the roadworks and bridge works are over, there is simply no reason to keep sending traffic into a residential area when there is a perfectly good relief road.

“Many of my constituents will be astonished that, after so much public money was spent on a purpose-built relief road, traffic is still being diverted down narrow older roads - some of which were originally built for the horse and cart.”

Mr Blizzard also re-iterated his long-held view that the problems with traffic-flow through Lowestoft needed to be addressed by the construction of a third bridge over Lake Lothing.

Earlier this year, the county council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, Guy McGregor, said the issue of signage was a “Catch-22 situation” because extra traffic on the relief road would have to negotiate the busy bascule bridge.

Responding to Mr Blizzard's latest criticism, Mr McGregor declined to comment on the allegation of broken promises, but insisted he could see sense in Yarmouth-bound traffic going through Oulton Broad.

However, he said: “It is early days yet… and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

Mr McGregor went on to say the county council had done much to improve the south Lowestoft area and criticised Mr Blizzard's comments.

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