Work starts on £6m spine road in north Lowestoft
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Work got under way this week on a £6m road scheme designed to ease congestion in north Lowestoft.
After several weeks' preparation and clearance work, a ceremony was held on Monday to mark the start of construction on the long-awaited new Lowestoft Northern Spine Road.
Plans for phase five of the project – which will see a new 1.1km single-carriageway road built between the Millennium Way-Bentley Drive roundabout and the A12-Corton Long Lane junction – were approved last year in an effort to divert through-traffic away from Bentley Drive and Yarmouth Road.
About £4.63m of government funding has gone towards the scheme, which is due to finish early next year, with Suffolk County Council contributing the remaining £1.5m.
As part of the work, a new roundabout will be built at the new road's junction with Corton Long Lane, along with a shared path and cycleway.
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Last month, The Journal reported on the work taking place to prepare for the construction project, with one home – known as The Oak Trees in Blundeston Road – being demolished.
With this now complete, contractors Jackson Civil Engineering began work this week.
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Speaking at a traditional sod-cutting ceremony on Monday, Waveney District Council leader Colin Law said: 'There is a real sense of achievement seeing the work begin. We know from the past that the scheme was shelved so we had to resurrect it.
'We felt this was important to the people of Lowestoft, and so we got it back on the map and ensured it was delivered. This is the culmination of four years of work by Mike Barnard and myself in Oulton that will improve things tremendously.'
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: 'It's great that this work has started as this is a scheme that should have been started a long time ago. This is another important component and part of improving the wider road network within Lowestoft and accessibility to the town.'
Colin Garrod, framework manager of Jackson Civil Engineering, added: 'There will be very little disruption to the traffic flow and the A12 will be running as normal right up until virtually the end of the works.'
Once work is finished, motorists will be able to travel at 40mph on the new road – 10mph faster than on Yarmouth Road – and the construction of the new roundabout will see parts of Blundeston Road turned into cul-de-sacs.
Highways officials estimate that 85pc of the traffic using the road will be vehicles guided away from Bentley Drive and say it should also alleviate congestion on the A12.
Graham Newman, Suffolk cabinet member for roads, transport and planning, said: 'This is the last bit of the spine road and looking at the bigger picture for Lowestoft, what with the completion of the works in Commercial Road and Station Square, it is great news for the town.'