When will someone in authority stand up and take responsibility for the traffic gridlock in Ipswich and I’m not just talking about when there are issues with the Orwell Bridge?  

Every single day tens of thousands of motorists sit in traffic jams with most of those vehicles pumping out noxious fumes and nothing seems to be done about it.  

Like many people this week I’ve been joining the debate about an alternative to the Orwell Bridge.

East Anglian Daily Times: Mark is fed up of the Orwell Bridge traffic issuesMark is fed up of the Orwell Bridge traffic issues (Image: Archant)

People are rightly angry at the farcical eastbound closure last Friday.

Ipswich completely ground to a halt and ironically so did the roads north of the town as people tried to find a way around Ipswich - the very areas where people are vehemently against a northern bypass.

I got stuck in Coddenham trying to find a way around Ipswich to get back to Felixstowe, it was carnage. Cars driving up banks destroying the verges, and tempers getting frayed.  

Only one lane of the eastbound carriageway was closed, so why couldn’t Highways England have opened the outside lane, reduced the speed limit, and relieved the traffic in Ipswich?

Instead, we had to wait for hours for a recovery vehicle to come from up north. 

At least the Orwell Bridge doesn’t close as often as it used to, but you only need an accident or break down which ends up affecting surrounding roads, bringing long delays for the motorist. 

East Anglian Daily Times: When the bridge closes, surrounding villages are used as ratrunsWhen the bridge closes, surrounding villages are used as ratruns (Image: Archant)

With thousands of new houses being built in and around the outskirts of Ipswich the situation is only going to get worse.  

WE MUST have some alternative to the Orwell Bridge and that cannot be to funnel vehicles through our county town.

We need a Northen bypass, a second bridge or as some have suggested a tunnel.

We can’t have Felixstowe, the premier container port for the country left so exposed when we have bridge issues.

It is also getting older and although these ideas of an alternative won’t fix things now, surely, we must take the long-term view and plan for the future?

When the decision was made to not go for a Northern bypass, a taskforce was set up and jointly chaired by the two Conservative MPs in Ipswich, Tom Hunt, and Dr Dan Poulter.

East Anglian Daily Times: Mark has had enough of the problemsMark has had enough of the problems (Image: Community Action Suffolk)

I had this week an interesting exchange with Tom Hunt on the social media platform X.

I wanted to know, who was on the taskforce and how often does it meet.

It turns out it hasn’t met for a year!

Mr Hunt claims the taskforce was responsible for the speed reductions on the bridge to keep it open in high winds.

That may be true but the job of easing traffic problems in Ipswich is far from sorted.

It causes daily misery for thousands of motorists.

The taskforce was set up to look at travel issues in Ipswich and not just problems with the Orwell Bridge.  

It’s the Conservative run Suffolk County Council who have responsibility for our roads in Ipswich.

Do you remember their farcical Travel Ipswich project?  

The multi-million-pound scheme was supposed to make traffic run more freely using traffic light technology, removing roundabouts and underpasses.

The buses were supposed to be more regular to encourage people to use them.  

They also spent a great deal of money creating some ludicrous shared space scheme on Handford Road which no one apart from the Tory County Council wanted.

These projects not only haven’t worked but have actually in my and other’s opinion made things worse. 

The thing is no one takes responsibility for wasting taxpayers millions.  

I don’t hear any plans from them to sort out things, and frankly after the shambles of Travel Ipswich I don’t hold out much hope.          

So, I say to Mr Hunt and Dr Poulter, reconvene your taskforce and sort out the daily gridlock in your constituencies.

It is one of the biggest issues affecting your constituents, so roll up your sleeves get stuck in! 

Read more: Tom Hunt on the Task Force and the northern bypass