Long suffering villagers have spoken of their relief after months of roadworks on the A14 have finally come to an end. 

Reconstruction work on the carriageway, between Haughley and Tot Hill, near Stowmarket, came to an end last Saturday, after starting in February 2023.

The £37million scheme brought misery to householders in villages along both official and unofficial diversion routes who were kept awake at night and suffered damage to their property. 

Drivers also suffered significant disruption as they faced long diversion routes while the work was carried out.

"The noise in the village now - you can still hear the trains coming past - there is hardly anything coming through," said Duncan Perry, chairman of Wetherden Parish Council. 

Duncan Perry, chairman of Wetherden Parish CouncilDuncan Perry, chairman of Wetherden Parish Council (Image: Duncan Perry)

"For the people who bordered the road themselves, having trucks rumbling past your house, shaking the walls, you can hear it. It doesn't give you a lot of sleep, but certainly broken sleep."

Some lorry drivers chose to wind their way through Wetherden as an alternative route to the 50 mile diversion set up by National Highways.

It led to villagers lobbying for lorries to stay on the A14 for as long as possible, as well for additional traffic calming measures. 

The carriageway reopened fully in both directions on SaturdayThe carriageway reopened fully in both directions on Saturday (Image: National Highways)

Mr Perry added: "It is a relief. The volumes [of traffic] have just been horrendous for the last 16 to 17 months, so we are very grateful they finished two months early and managed to get the job done."

Gerald Brown, chairman of neighbouring Haughley Parish Council, stated the roadworks had been "bedlam". 

He said: "It is still very early days. It has been a little bit like bedlam. The number of vehicles going through has virtually doubled during those roadworks. It is a phenomenal number."

Both Simon Wilson, director of Elmswell-based HC Wilson Transport, and Fred Pallett, chairman of Elmswell Parish Council, shared the satisfaction. 

"It is a big relief," said Mr Wilson.

"I drove back along there last night and it was a breath of fresh air with no traffic. We are chuffed to bits it is behind us."

Simon Wilson, director of Elmswell-based firm HC WilsonSimon Wilson, director of Elmswell-based firm HC Wilson (Image: Simon Wilson)

While Mr Pallett also spoke of his relief, he pointed to further road closures which are set to affect Elmswell. 

From July 20, the A1088 will close in Stowlangtoft as Suffolk Highways replace a bridge. 

The road will be shut until just before Christmas, with traffic being diverted through Elmswell.

"All it means is people from Elmswell cannot use the A1088," added Mr Pallet.

"We go from one to another to another. Even while the A14 was going on there was delays while they built a new roundabout at Woolpit."

A spokesman for Suffolk Highways said: "The road will be closed to ensure the safety of highway users and our operatives. This is a significant project which will secure the longevity of the structure, ensuring that it is safer for all highway users.

"Consultations have taken place with representatives from the local community, who have expressed concerns regarding local roads being used to bypass the closure, without using the official diversion route."

"In order to prepare these routes for a higher volume of traffic, reactive repair and vegetation works and will be carried out prior to commencement of the closure."

A spokesman for National Highways, which carried out the work on the A14, said: "National Highways thanks people for their patience while the scheme has been in place."