Improvements to the Copdock Mill roundabout have been put on hold after costs of the scheme escalated. The scheme was being paid for by Hutchison Ports as part of the planning conditions for the extension of Felixstowe Port. This will give the Highways Agency an opportunity to reassess the scheme and carry out surveys on traffic flows at this junction. I have been warning for some time that the proposed changes would cause long delays on the Northbound A12 approach to the roundabout as well as an increase in accidents. This is in direct contradiction to the objectives of the scheme.
The current plans are to move Ipswich bound traffic into the outside lane on the A12 approach to Copdock Mill roundabout. At present Ipswich bound traffic travels in the left hand lane. As a regular user of this road I know that the left lane always moves faster, and it is the outside lane which tends to have the longer and slower moving queue. The proposed change will cause major tailbacks and a great deal of lane switching as people try to bypass the queues in the outside lane. I first raised the issue with the Highways Agency earlier this year and now both Suffolk Police and Suffolk County Council have backed my concerns about delays and increased risk of accidents.
I am also worried that these “improvements” will cause more traffic to divert through local villages to avoid queues at Copdock Mill. Both Snoasis and Hutchison Ports have commitments to fund junction improvements at the Copdock Interchange. However because of the old-fashioned way in which the Highways Agency is dealing with this project only works required and funded by Hutchison are being promoted. The Department for Transport has promoted the concept of a Ringmaster to draw together funding from more than one developer in order to spread costs and solve more than one junction issue. If the Highways Agency adopted this approach they could improve both East and West bound traffic flows. Currently they are in danger of making a bad situation worse in terms of congestion as well as increasing the number of accidents. The Copdock Mill scheme includes full signalisation of the roundabout, as well as an extended off slip onto the A14 from the A1214.