Ipswich: Temporary road closures planned as ‘chord’ rail project enters final stages

Work underway on the 'chord' project near Europa Way, Ipswich, earlier this year.

Work underway on the 'chord' project near Europa Way, Ipswich, earlier this year. - Credit: Archant

Work on a key part of the Ipswich Chord rail project is expected to enter its final stages this weekend when the installation of a new bridge in the town takes place.

There will be some road closures in parts of north west Ipswich while the structure is assembled between Saturday and Monday.

The bridge will be transported to the town and will be installed over Sproughton Road – it will sit beside the current bridge.

Network Rail has said this part of the initiative will complete a key stage of the upgrade to the railway in the area, forming a direct link between the Stowmarket and Felixstowe lines.

Richard Schofield, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “The work we are doing at Ipswich, together with the other enhancements along the cross-country route between Felixstowe and Nuneaton in the West Midlands, is a key part of our plans to take more freight off roads and on to rail.”

The company is currently building a 1.2km stretch of track, known as a chord, which will link the East Suffolk line and Great Eastern main line.

The idea is that the chord will remove the need for freight trains travelling to and from the Port of Felixstowe to use the sidings next to Ipswich train station as a reversing point.

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That is expected to eliminate a major bottleneck on the Great Eastern main line and free capacity for both passenger and freight services.

Mr Schofield added: “This project will help to take up to 750,000 lorry journeys off the road every year by 2030, reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions as well as improving road safety.”

In order for the work to take place this weekend, temporary parking restrictions and road diversions will be put in place.

In addition, Europa Way will be closed to traffic between 3pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday, while the Sproughton Road roundabout will be closed to traffic from 5pm on Saturday to 6am on Monday.

The project is due to be fully completed by April next year and will include four new bridges, signalling equipment and improvements to the existing over head line equipment.