Nightmare roadworks on busy route move step closer to completion

Gridlock in Ipswich Road, Colchester Picture: COLCHESTER VIEWS

Gridlock in Ipswich Road, Colchester Picture: COLCHESTER VIEWS - Credit: COLCHESTER VIEWS

Nightmare roadworks which have caused traffic delays for two years in Colchester town centre are tantalisingly moving a step closer to completion.

Reduced traffic during the coronavirus crisis has allowed Essex Highways to complete the carriage construction of Ipswich Road (North) earlier than planned.

The work is part of a wider project, with engineers replacing each of the double roundabouts in Ipswich Road and Harwich Road with single roundabouts.

The carriageway between Ipswich Road and Harwich Road junctions is also being widened to accommodate two formal lanes in each direction, while pedestrian crossing, cycle lanes and footpaths are also being improved.

The scheme is seen as important to improving traffic flows in a congested part of Colchester in the long-term.

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However, there has been even more gridlock due to road and lane closures during the works, which began in September 2018.

Essex Highways said much of the work on the main Harwich Road to Ipswich Road was completed some weeks ago – but that a crack discovered in Cowdray Bridge caused a hold-up.

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While works to repair the bridge are ongoing, engineers will take advantage of the reduced traffic during the second coronavirus lockdown to bring forward the carriageway reconstruction works.

That means they will close one lane for two weeks starting on November 15.

That will remove the need to complete this part of the works at the end of the project, when the Ipswich Road roundabout is finalised after the bridge works completed.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “This lockdown has given us the opportunity to bring forward works while the roads are quieter and reduce the impact on traffic in the New Year.

“It is more important than ever that customers please continue to support our excellent local businesses in this area.

“I hope people who travel through this junction are beginning to see some of the benefits of increased traffic capacity and improved walking and cycling provision.

“I would like to thank the engineers who are reacting quickly to an ever-changing situation to minimise the impact of the work on the travelling public.”

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