The first full week of 2014 has brought some news which could give a little relief to the beleaguered motorists on the eastern side of Bury St Edmunds: The long-mooted eastern relief road was granted planning permission on Monday.
For those in the dark, the £18 million road will connect Skyliner Way (home to the Royal Mail delivery office) with junction 45 of the A14, at Rougham.
So, why is this road so important? Well, with plans for a further 500 homes on Moreton Hall it is absolutely crucial that this road is built – and soon. Anyone who lives on that side of town, or who commutes in from a village on that side of Bury, will know that rush hour can be a complete nightmare around the Bury East junction of the A14 (near Sainsbury’s).
Some mornings I have hit traffic backed up Bedingfeld Way nearly as far as Matalan. That may be rare, but it is not uncommon for me to sit in a jam gazing at the scenic outlooks of Dreams bed superstore or the Sainsbury’s side entrance. Then, when you are lucky enough to get as far as the first set of traffic lights, there is the sweat-inducing white knuckle experience of wondering whether you will make it through the lights into the next row of traffic before they change to red again.
Yep, commuting from Moreton Hall can be one of the most stress-inducing experiences of my day. In stark contrast, I’ve just had a blissful two weeks of driving to work – with the children off school and many others not in the office for Christmas the 25-30 minute commute has been averaging a pleasing eight minutes.
So, this begs the question: Will the eastern relief road actually make a difference to those who commute via Bedingfeld Way? It is claimed the new road will remove industrial traffic from the Bury east junction. That may be the case, but I think the biggest cause of all those rush-hour traffic jams is not lorries or other industrial traffic. No, the cause is hard-working commuters struggling to get to work on time or parents on the school run. And no relief road is going to change that.