Category Archives: Highways

Question I Just Received on Highway Signs.

For several years it has concerned me, and many others I speak to, that trees, hedges and general dirt are being allowed to obscure road signs.  A while ago I searched for any rules that may apply as directed by the Department For Transport and found the attached from the Traffic Signs Manual (1982 Amended 2004).  I would bring your attention in particular to 1. Introductory, paragraph 1.2 and 5. The Design & Use of Signs, paragraph 1.31 (b) and 9. Maintenance of Signs.  All common sense, you would think?

Quite obviously these conditions are not being met.  For example: the road sign coming up to the Hadleigh Road mini roundabout at Sproughton from the Washbrook direction.  It is so obscured by the hedge that you cannot read the sign until you’re virtually next to it and nearly at the roundabout!!  Similarly, now the leaves are coming out on trees, other signs are disappearing behind them.  I cannot believe that this problem is not the subject of more of an outcry as with the pot hole debacle.  Being unable to read road signs from a safe distance is as dangerous as having to be more vigilant in avoiding potholes.

My Answer

Suffolk Highways needs to meet its obligations under these rules which are made for good reason.  I think you will have seen from my leaflets and “In Touch” contributions that I have been active in pressing for improved performance across the board although the key focus has been potholes .

I believe that the outsourcing of the highways contract has not worked and, despite the Conservatives rolling it on for another five years, it must either perform in short order or the work must be taken back in-house.  Suffolk people just can’t continue to put up with the issues you raise or the potholes.

We must have the management talent to guide the workforce to high performance.   As the government has been giving some relatively small but significant grants for such work and we could use a sensible amount, £2 million, from the £150 million reserves to make one-off improvements.  We should be able to do better!

You will get this if you ensure there is a strong opposition after Thursday to make sure that the mantra that everything must be privatised does not result in self-deception about the level of performance achieved.


John Field

Park and Ride passengers plummet

We Lib Dems today revealed that the Park and Ride service has seen a huge fall in passenger numbers since the Bury Road site was closed at the beginning of 2011.

The County originally predicted that when they closed the Bury Road site around half of the passengers would transfer to either London Road or Martlesham. Prior to the closure at the beginning of 2011, a total of 1,000,000 passengers were using one of the three services every year. There were 300,000 passengers using the Bury Road site in the final year of its operation. The total number of passengers has now dropped to 500,000 per year.

In 2011, not only did the Conservatives close the Bury Road Park and Ride site, but they introduced a charge for over 60s, and made them wait until 9.30am before they could use their bus passesThe Ipswich Park and Ride service was introduced when we ran the council in coalition with Labour. It has always been highly valued, but the Conservatives seem determined to destroy it.

We fought a campaign to keep the Bury Road site open. We carried out a survey of passengers, organised a petition and made the Cabinet reconsider its decision. They would not change their minds and they failed to look at the full implications of the closure. This dramatic fall in passenger numbers has major implications for Ipswich. We have no way of measuring how many people now drive into Ipswich, or avoid it altogether. In this difficult economic climate, and with the advent of online shopping, town centres need all the help they can get.”

In detail, figures for the London Road and Martlesham Park and Ride sites are:

Total passengers 03 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 – 557,665

Total passengers 04 April 2010 to 02 April 2011 – 749,176

Total passengers 05 April 2009 to 03 April 2010 – 769,666

The figures also include those travelling on concessionary passes which gave free travel until 1 April 2011 & half price travel after this date.

Bury Road was still operational until January 2011. Its all tickets breakdown was:

For 2007/08   192,000

For 2008/09   245,000

For 2009/10   306,000

This meant that in the year 2009 – 2010, there were a total of 1,075,666 users of the Park and Ride service in Ipswich

Highways Procurement

You will recall that in previous Parish Reports I stated that the County Council had agreed a contract with Balfour Beatty to provide the highways services across Suffolk but that there had been a last minute problem.  The County Council has now provided an update.

 “In December 2012, Suffolk County Council announced Balfour Beatty Living Places as the Preferred Bidder for the contract to maintain and improve Suffolk’s highways from 1st April 2013.

Following a period of extensive and constructive discussion with Balfour Beatty Living Places, Suffolk County Council has not been able to confirm and clarify commitments made to the point where it can provisionally award the contract. It has therefore been decided that the procurement process will revert to the previous stage where Suffolk County Council can liaise with any, or all, of the bidders who submitted final tenders (including Balfour Beatty Living Places), before again identifying a preferred bidder.

This does not affect the county council’s ambition to identify a private sector company that will be responsible for the design and implementation of highway maintenance and improvement works, winter gritting, street lighting, traffic signals and bridge works throughout the county.

A key objective to achieve £2 million of recurring revenue savings in year 2013/14, helping the council’s transport department to achieve efficiency savings of 1.5% per year remains in place.”