Bridge widening plan revealed

WIDENING the Orwell Bridge is one of the audacious ideas which may be looked at to cope with the increasing levels of traffic on the A14, the EADT can reveal.

WIDENING the Orwell Bridge is one of the audacious ideas which may be looked at to cope with the increasing levels of traffic on the A14, the EADT can reveal.

The idea has been mooted in a wide-ranging report into how to improve transport links between Felixstowe and Newmarket.

Other possible solutions are to improve access from the A14 into both Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, upgrade the Copdock interchange and better management of the A14 in general.

The Newmarket to Felixstowe Corridor Study was commissioned by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) and East of England Development Agency, and looks at all transport links between the east and west of the county.


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Brian Stewart, chief executive of EERA, said last night: “Obviously one of the reasons for doing the study was to look ahead to the potential enlarged traffic coming from Felixstowe and also the other end of the corridor, the growth effects of Cambridge. We felt it was important to look at the whole corridor.

“The only caution is we know funding is extremely, extremely competitive.”

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The report says a study is needed to review the long term measures to improve east-west capacity through and around the Ipswich area.

The study findings have been put out to consultation, and in its response, Ipswich Borough Council looks set to ask for more work to be done. Its executive committee meets tomorrow to discuss the plan.

A report going before the committee states: “A study is required to review long term measures to improve east-west capacity through and around the Ipswich area.

“This capacity improving study should examine, among other things, widening the Orwell Bridge, an Ipswich relief road (eg a northern bypass) and town centre improvements.”

It adds: “Specifically, £40,000 should be allocated to the capacity improvement study proposed by the Felixstowe to Newmarket Corridor Study. It would also be appropriate for that study to investigate the issues of linking the port to the A14 (including looking at the East Bank link road).

Councillor Inga Lockington, portfolio holder for transport, said: “If we are to have the growth that the government want us to have then we do need the right infrastructure.

“All these things will have to be looked at and then we need to come up with the best solution.”

She added: “For us in Ipswich the important thing is whenever the Orwell Bridge is closed we get all the traffic into Ipswich.”

There were a catalogue of problems in the town earlier this year when accidents led to the A14 being shut-down - causing traffic to divert through the town which then became gridlocked. It sparked calls for a new northern bypass for Ipswich.

She said they were looking at improved signage for diversions when there was an accident on the A14 to avoid snarl-ups in the town.

The Corridor study will eventually be incorporated into the East of England Plan, which provides a blueprint for the region for the next 20 years.

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