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Diversion sign downed for more than a week during village roadworks

The road closure in Ufford, before it was lifted. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The road closure in Ufford, before it was lifted. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A sign warning of a road closure lay face down for more than a week outside a Suffolk village.

The fallen diversion sign at the edge of Ufford. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe fallen diversion sign at the edge of Ufford. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The closure of High Street, Ufford, near Woodbridge, was lifted earlier than expected at the end of last month, following three weeks of work to connect supplies to new homes and widen a footpath. But, for up 10 days of the closure, a warning sign remained face down at the northern end of the village.

The fallen diversion sign was reported to highways officials by a local resident during the first week of the closure.

A second sign remained standing, indicating ‘no access’ to the A12 at Melton, and that The Crown pub was open as usual.

“There were clearly signs that were not being displayed when coming from the Wickham Market direction,” said the resident, whose complaint was logged by the county council’s highways department, which said it would investigate the report and ‘make a decision on any action that may need to be taken, and by when’.

Three days later, the resident was told all signs had been inspected and were in place, and that everything possible was being done to ensure they remained up.

But, when the resident returned to the spot, the sign was down prompting another report, accompanied by a photograph of it lying on the ground.

The council responded by saying it had updated the report and sent it off for further investigation. The resident then received an email saying contractors had been contacted with a request that they check and reinstate the signs – 10 days after the first complaint was made.

Suffolk County Council said the sign was the responsibility of contractors carrying out the work on Landex Ltd’s housing development at Crown Nurseries.

But the company argued it never received notification of the sign being down, or a request to put it back up.

A county council spokesman said: “All contractors carrying out works in the public highway are responsible for their own works, workforce and health and safety, as well as the site itself.”

The closure was described as ‘chaotic’ by Ufford parish clerk, Judi Hallett, who said signs at the Wickham Market end of the closure failed to properly indicate a diversion route.

Officials responded by saying extra signs and barriers had been positioned, but that neither they, nor contractors, had power to control the actions of road users.

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