Suffolk Highways have reopened a road that had been shut since New Year’s Eve, after leading West Suffolk councillors branded their efforts a “farce”.

The A143 Compiegne Way in Bury St Edmunds had been closed since Sunday, December 31, after heavy rainfall left it submerged.

The prolonged closure has caused congestion in and around the town centre as motorists tried to find alternative routes.

East Anglian Daily Times: Compiegne Way, which has been closed since December 31Compiegne Way, which has been closed since December 31 (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Before the reopening of the road, which Suffolk Highways maintained was being treated as a "top priority", West Suffolk council leader and Eastgate representative Cliff Waterman, along with Moreton Hall councillors Rowena Lindberg and Peter Armitage, hit out at the "ongoing chaos". 

A statement from the trio said: "I’m not sure the present national and county regime understand what the ongoing cost of this farce is to residents (danger to pedestrians, particularly schoolchildren), stress, diversions, extra noise and air pollution with lorries using residential roads), businesses (lost time, unreliability of deliveries etc) and those requiring emergency services."


East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Cliff WatermanCllr Cliff Waterman (Image: West Suffolk Council)

They raised questions of Suffolk Highways and Suffolk County Council, including why responses to all concerned have taken so long and what the council's short, medium and long term plans are.

They also suggested implementing changes at the site like elevating the road or increasing the drainage capacity. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Rowena LindbergCllr Rowena Lindberg (Image: West Suffolk Council)

Their statement continued: "Local residents feel, very understandably, that they are being left to their own devices, while SCC allow the chaos to continue.

"There’s a real feeling that the council in Ipswich doesn’t either understand, or worse, care about, the effects this is having on the everyday lives of people here in Bury St Edmunds.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Peter ArmitageCllr Peter Armitage (Image: West Suffolk Council)

"There’s also real frustration that SCC councillors are not taking a strong line in support, perhaps because, with the SCC budget and its associated cuts about to be decided, they don’t want to ask difficult questions of their own political group."

Suffolk Highways apologised for the inconvenience, thanked the public for their patience, and said the road had reopened at  about 6.20pm. Highways added that diversion signs would be removed overnight.

A Suffolk Highways spokesman said: “Today we have installed two new pumps in Compiegne Way and tested to ensure that water is successfully outfalling into the River Lark. There continues to be a source of running water, where investigations are ongoing, however this will not affect the road reopening.
“We were able to complete road markings at the junctions of Compiegne Way but will need to return on an evening next week to complete the edge and centreline markings.
“West Suffolk Council also attended site to carry out street cleaning works including litter picking.
“Suffolk Highways will be carrying out full assessment of any defects which have appeared as a result of increased traffic, including on The Avenue, Fornham Road and Mill Road. These will be repaired in line with our maintenance standards. We are in the process of developing a future maintenance schedule for this location to ensure the risk of future flooding is kept to a minimum.”
Highways said further works had to be completed in the coming weeks to replace vandalised control equipment that operates the pumps in a lagoon taking water from the A143/A134 roundabout, to desilt the lagoon and establish whether pumps need replacement, and to assess the effectiveness of pumps at the centre of the roundabout."