No More A14 Delays in Suffolk campaign backed by 150 businesses
A campaign for Government investment in the A14 has secured the backing of 150 businesses - as one boss estimates delays along the route cost his company £100 an hour.
The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce-led No More A14 Delays in Suffolk is calling for £150 million from the second Roads Investment Strategy to address the seven ‘worst’ pinch point junctions.
Mark Pendlington, chairman of the A14 Strategy Board, has written to Chris Grayling, secretary of state for transport, to highlight the support for the campaign and the potential benefits including 36,000 more jobs in Suffolk and £1.5 billion for the national economy.
Members of the campaign gathered at CLAAS UK’s offices in Little Saxham, which overlook the A14.
Trevor Tyrrell, chief executive of CLAAS UK, said: “With the improvements between Cambridge and Coventry to the A14, the stretch through Suffolk is clearly no longer fit for purpose. The road surface is poor and not up to the standard required by the huge tonnage of heavy goods vehicles travelling to and from the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich, and this includes the 4,300 heavy agricultural machines and 900 tonnes of spare parts shipped in and out by CLAAS UK every year.”
The seven pinch points include junctions 43 and 44 in Bury St Edmunds but Mr Tyrrell also thinks the ‘dangerous’ junction 41, where CLAAS is based, needs investment as ‘there are two exits from the slip road into Saxham Business Park’.
He said: “Every week we see HGVs reversing into the oncoming traffic or even worse travelling up the A14 slip road the wrong way.”
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Asked how much A14 delays cost the company, Mr Tyrrell said: “Directly, maybe £100 per hour which is already significant but indirectly to our customers the cost is massive and immeasurable.”
He said if a combine harvester broke down, the ‘cost of downtime can be huge’, and if a customer lost a business contract ‘because the service engineer or the spare parts were stuck in one of the daily traffic jams on the A14, it could threaten the survival of that farming business’.
Mr Pendlington said: “We’re hopeful the Government will see the facts before them and invest in Britain by investing in Suffolk.”
An announcement is due this year.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are making a major investment in improving roads in the region, including the £1.5bn improvement to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
"We continue to consider proposals for future enhancements."