Ruffley Warns of A14 Gridlock by 2010

Friday, 27 February, 2004

What's the difference between the Central and Eastern A14 interchanges in Bury St Edmunds and a car park? The answer is by around 2010 there won't be any. The roundabouts will be gridlocked. Jammed up. As a car driver you might just as well put your handbrake on and sit there.

The Highways Agency tell me they are worried about traffic backing up the slip roads and onto the A14. So even the A14 carriageways will be clogged up- never mind the roundabouts in the town.

Bury St Edmunds is a thriving and growing town. Three cheers for that. But what solutions are the authorities coming up with to the traffic problem? The Highways Agency say that Bury St Edmunds should do a better job of encouraging cyclists as well as getting more bus services operating in the town centre. No mention was made of any road improvements that they could help us with. Would widening the slip roads make any difference? The Freight Transport Association have even talked about widening the A14 carriageways- though those of us with a 'green' tinge wonder whether that is not just a recipe for more traffic that will clog up a wider carriageway!

We need a public debate about the growing traffic into our town. What about the FUTURE traffic flows that will rise as a result of new developments in our town? There is the Cattle Market bringing many more visitors and the exciting plans for redeveloping land in and around Station Hill. That's even before we consider any new business park for our town which if tastefully done could ensure that we get a slice of the action generated by Cambridge- from where many young businesses are desperate to move and relocate elsewhere in East Anglia.

What about a serious look at a 'park and ride', which seems to have worked so well for Cambridge? That means joined up thinking to make sure that clean and efficient buses run from any park and ride facility to the centre of Bury. To the places and the shops and the areas that visitors want to go to without being charged through the nose for the privilege.

Local politicians and planners have never won Nobel Prizes in the past for forward thinking. But that's got to change. If we don't worry what our town traffic system is going to be like in 2010 we will all end up in a non-moving car park. With our handbrakes on!