December 12 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Two days of traffic chaos across Ipswich eased today after the wrong kind of lights were replaced in Norwich Road.
The temporary lights at the junction between Norwich Road and Bramford Road brought the town to a standstill on Monday and yesterday.
The move caused fury among the town’s business community – especially coming on the day the “Quids In” promotion of cheap bus fares and car parking was introduced.
Ipswich Central bosses were furious that they were not told before the work began.
For the first two days of the week traffic queued from the Norwich Road railway bridge and from along Civic Drive to try to get through the automatic three-way lights that had been installed at the junction.
There were reports that buses were taking an hour to travel from Whitton to the town centre – a journey that is scheduled to take 10 minutes.
A spokesman for the county council said manually-controlled lights should have been installed to allow engineers to judge how heavy the traffic was and to try to keep traffic flowing along Norwich Road.
However the automatic lights made no allowance for the volume of traffic and led to the gridlock which extended to other roads out of Ipswich, including Handford Road, West End Road, and Henley Road.
New manually-controlled lights were due to come into operation today which should allow traffic to flow much better.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “As part of our work to connect traffic lights to a town-wide traffic management system, we’re upgrading the lights at the junction between Bramford Road and Norwich Road over the next three weeks.
“Yesterday and today only, this required three-way temporary lights. We accept this has caused delays.
“From tomorrow morning however, the lights are being switched back to two way, and will be controlled manually to account for actual traffic levels on the roads that connect at the junction. This means that traffic will flow more freely on Norwich Road.
“We do apologise for delays but we’re confident that the issue has now been resolved.”
But Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement was irritated at the lack of consultation about the work.
He said: “I know there have to be roadworks, but we have been having meetings about the Travel Ipswich programme but no one said anything about this – the first we knew of this work was when the lights went up.
“It has been very difficult for the town centre with all the roadworks – but this has really hit us. It is somewhat embarrassing that these lights have been introduced. I am relieved that the contractors should be sorting it out.”
However while traffic eased on Norwich Road, more lights were installed in the Ranelagh Road area, increasing traffic problems near Ipswich railway station.