Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Proposed A14 slip road closures affecting traffic driving to and from Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Ipswich, at peak time, causes concern

Highways engineers are seeking views on proposed A14 slip road closures in a bid to combat rat-running through villages.

National Highways, which is reconstructing a section of the A14 between junction 47a Haughley to junction 49 Tothill, says it is considering further measures due to motorists ignoring signs to stick to the single lane A14 contraflow.

It follows complaints from residents in Suffolk villages including Woolpit, Elmswell, Haughley, Beyton, Tostock, and Wetherden about motorists using the villages as short cuts to avoid delays.

Work under way on the 14 reconstruction between Junction 47a to Junction 49
Work under way on the 14 reconstruction between Junction 47a to Junction 49

In a letter to parish councils, National Highways, says it is working with Suffolk County Council on the idea, which would initially be on a week-long trial basis, at peak times.

It affects residents driving to and from the villages from Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Ipswich.

The letter has caused concern on social media with people living in the villages wondering how they will get home, fears of further congestion on the A14 between the two junctions, and access for emergency vehicles.

National Highways said in the letter: “We’re aware that A14 through traffic continues to use local roads to try to shorten journeys instead of travelling through the contraflow between junctions 47 and 49, despite being repeatedly requested not to in all of our communications.

“We have worked with Suffolk County Council to consider further mitigations that can be introduced to prevent the rat running through local villages.

“Although additional signs have been positioned along various routes, it is clear that not all road users are paying attention to these.

“As such we’re considering whether closing exit slip roads during peak periods may be a solution in keeping the through traffic on the A14.

“Before we implement this measure, we wanted to gauge your opinion on the proposal as it will directly affect the local access and egress arrangements.”

The proposed exit slip road closures will be done on a week’s trial basis, Monday to Friday between the hours:

  • Westbound: 7:30am to 9:00am junction 49 exit slip road. Westbound traffic will be diverted to exit the A14 at junction 47, before taking the A14 eastbound back to junction 49.
  • Eastbound: 3:45pm to 6:30pm junction 46 exit slip and junction 47 exit slip. Eastbound traffic will be diverted to exit the A14 at junction 49, before taking the A14 westbound to junction 47 or 46.

The reconstruction work is costing £37 million and due to finish during the summer of 2024.

A National Highways spokesperson said: "One of our top priorities while undertaking the reconstruction scheme on the A14 between Haughley and Tothill is ensuring that disruption to the local community is kept to a minimum, including reducing 'rat running'.

“We are considering all possible options to help keep traffic on the A14, including the possibility of closing slip roads during peak periods to try and encourage people to stick to the official diversion.

"Feedback we receive from local people is a key factor in our decision making and we'd like to thank everyone who has responded to this proposed trial so far. There is still time for people to tell us what they think, and encourage anyone who is yet to share their views to do so by the end of the month."

People are asked to send their views to concreteroadseastA14@nationalhighways.co.uk.

Suffolk County Council has been approached for comment.