Suffolk County Councillor Guy McGregor says improving access between Diss and Eye is very much on the agenda following a report highlighting the issues of the A140.
Suffolk County Council’s A140 Route Based Strategy states that the “main concern” for stakeholders is the accident record at the B1077 junctions with the A140, to Stuston in the north via the junction at the Devils Handbasin garage and to Eye in the south.
It adds the A140 has been chosen as one of the first “route strategies” to be developed by Suffolk County Council because “of its importance as part of a strategic corridor” with “known road issues.”
Mr McGregor, councillor for Eye, felt the report “lacked ambition” and said he was “determined” to arrange a meeting with the area surveyors and Jessica Fleming.
“If you want to get to the railway station in Diss from Eye by car or by bus, you have to leave an exceptional amount of time to make sure you make the timetable, which is frustrating,” he said.
“There is an issue of road safety I think which has reared its head again.”
We need a serious approach to infrastructure improvementsGuy McGregor
In total nine collisions have occurred during the five-year study period from 2010 to 2015 at that junction — six of those were deemed ‘slight’, two ‘serious’, while one resulted in a fatality.
And it adds that is it anticipated pressure on the route will grow, due to the amount development planned. These include the development of Eye Airfield, which could provide up to 3,000 jobs, while a planning application for up to 280 homes and a 60 bed care home in Eye has been lodged with Mid Suffolk District Council, although the report states the new potential homes proposal would only have a “small impact” on the A140 and B1077 junction.
The speed camera on the road at Brome in 2011, 100m away from the B1077 junction, was decommissioned in 2011 after a study found it was not “directly” reducing accident within its “immediate” area, the report said.
And potential plans to reduce the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph in and the prohibition of a right turn from Stuston Lane onto the A140, discussed in 2013, were not implemented by the council.
Mr McGregor continued: “There is increasing development in the area - the issue of the airfield and the Eye industrial estate, and potential new housing on the north-westerly part of Eye as well is something that has to be realised and the inadequacy of the road in this area is becoming more apparent.
“We need a serious approach to infrastructure improvements.”
He added to improve the situation, he said the ambition of what was required “needs to be raised”, as well as addressing congestion, the linking of Diss and Eye, and road safety.
The report concluded short term measures, including improvements to road signs and visibility sight lines, widening the carriageway to better accommodate turning traffic and the use of coloured high-friction surfacing on the main road could assist.
In the long term, it suggests providing a roundabout on land on the south eastern side of the current junction, as well as installing traffic lights on the B1077 towards the Eye junction with the A140.
Mr McGregor said that educating motorists could go a long way to improving road safety, but was unsure whether there was evidence to suggest reducing the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph would have an effect.
“I have heard far too often of young people inexplicably killing themselves on the road,” he added.
“There is a need to get better education in terms of road conditions, people being more aware of that, and being aware of what they can do if they don’t use common sense.
“Education is very much on our agenda.
“I think far too often you see speeding traffic in excess of the legal limit and there are very good reasons why the limits are there.”