Suffolk transport blueprint set for approval

AN ambitious new transport blueprint for Suffolk is set to be approved by the county council next week.

The third Suffolk Transport Plan is set for final approval at the annual meeting next Thursday – although it is clear that some schemes are more long-term aspirations that immediate proposals.

Among those that are seen as long-term aspirations are the Four Villages' A12 by-pass for which the county is hoping to get funding as part of the 'Energy Coast' initiative.

It is seen as the top of the list for aspirations in the Suffolk Coastal district – but the county is unlikely to be able to fund it from its own resources.

So it is hoping to attract funding from EDF which wants to build Sizewell C and from businesses that are hoping to develop wind energy off the Suffolk coast from bases in Lowestoft.

The transport plan itself looks forward to 2031.

The major improvements that the county expects to see over the next few years are:

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• Dualling of the A11 between Barton Mills and Thetford.

• The sustainable-transport scheme, 'Ipswich – Transport fit for the 21st Century.'

• The Beccles rail loop allowing increased frequency of trains between Ipswich and Lowestoft.

• The Beccles southern relief road.

• The Lowestoft northern spine road to help remove through traffic from the town.

• Ipswich rail chord to improve freight connections from Felixstowe to the midlands and north.

• Copdock A14/A12 junction improvements.

In his foreword to the document, cabinet member with responsibility for transport Guy McGregor says: 'At this time of financial constraint Suffolk County Council's priority is to aid sustainable economic recovery and growth.

'Transport has a vital role to play in this. Good transport is essential for business and for people to access education and skills training.

'Maintaining our transport system, improving its reliability and reducing congestion are essential if we are to support the economic development needed for recovery and to place Suffolk in the strongest possible position to capitalise on emerging opportunities for future sustainable economic growth.'

The plan is expected to be adopted by the county council at its meeting next Thursday, and will then be used as a yardstick for any new transport proposals for Suffolk that are brought forwards in future years.

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