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Better liaison between highways departments in Suffolk, say roads chiefs

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Sudbury mayor Jack Owen in Kingfisher car park. (8240997)
Sudbury mayor Jack Owen in Kingfisher car park. (8240997)

Co-ordination between highways organisations in Suffolk has dramatically improved since December, according to roads chiefs.

Highways England, which manages the strategic road network – key routes such as the A14 and the A12 – is required to alert Suffolk Highways when it is closing roads for work that will divert traffic on to the routes managed by the council.

A report prepared for March’s full council meeting revealed that Highways England had only alerted Suffolk Highways at “relatively short notice” for planned work.

It prompted highways cabinet member Mary Evans to open talks last summer to improve communication, resulting in a series of changes since December.

Former Sudbury mayor Jack Owen, the Labour group spokesman for highways at the county council, said he had encountered many motorists who had complained about poor diversion routes because of a lack of planning.

“The greatest frustration is caused by delays as a result of road closures and random diversions being in place days prior to any work commencing, and also remaining in place over weekends and at periods when no work is being carried out,” he said.

“It is clear that many diversions seem to be devised without any local knowledge or wisdom; what may be necessary for an HGV is not necessary for cars.”

The council’s report said that Highways England was also planning a reorganisation of its project management teams to improve communication.