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Row over Lowestoft road closure

PUBLISHED: 06:46 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:25 05 July 2010

Plans to shut one of the main routes through the Lowestoft area for roadworks came under fire from an MP last night.

The A1117 Bridge Road at Oulton Broad will be completely closed from 7pm on Saturday until 6am the following Wednesday, meaning the Mutford Lock bridge over Lake Lothing will be out of action.

Plans to shut one of the main routes through the Lowestoft area for roadworks came under fire from an MP last night.

The A1117 Bridge Road at Oulton Broad will be completely closed from 7pm on Saturday until 6am the following Wednesday, meaning the Mutford Lock bridge over Lake Lothing will be out of action.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said the closure, so soon after over-running repairs to Lowestoft's bascule bridge caused traffic chaos, was "adding insult to injury".

However, road chiefs at Suffolk County Council have defended their stance, saying they chose the school half-term week to minimise disruption and have also tied in the resurfacing project with work on the level crossing at Oulton Broad North station.

Mr Blizzard said: "I'm sorry, but this doesn't seem acceptable to me. I think enough lessons should have been learned from the disruption on the bascule bridge and they should find a better way to do this.

"I don't think that closing a road for this length of time is an acceptable way of carrying out resurfacing work. This spells disaster again.

"This is adding insult to injury and we've had enough. Lowestoft has got to keep moving - these are tough times. The last thing we need are these crippling roadworks," said Mr Blizzard.

Traffic diversions will be put in place and access to businesses and homes in Bridge Road will be maintained during the day, although this may be restricted at night.

Following the reopening of the road, work will continue for a further three nights to allow resurfacing of the Normanston Drive roundabout and a section of Normanston Drive.

Work will be suspended during the day to allow traffic to flow freely.

Guy McGregor, the county council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said: "I appreciate that Lowestoft has seen its fair share of disruption due to the Highways Agency's closure of the bascule bridge, but I can reassure everyone that we are doing everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum.

"We know there is never a good time to undertake works, but this is more investment by the county council in Lowestoft's roads and is specifically timed to cause the least disruption to tourist businesses in the town," said Mr McGregor.

"As a result of consultations, we know that if closures have to be undertaken then the optimum time is the February half-term."

Meanwhile, the council confirmed that signs stating the road would be closed for nine days were incorrect and in the process of being replaced.

Network Rail spokesman Russell Spink said that work to install new level-crossing equipment at Oulton Broad North had been planned to coincide with the county council roadworks, but that there would be no disruption to train services.

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