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Calls for better infrastructure as Colchester road improvement scheme continues

PUBLISHED: 07:30 15 February 2019

The A133 roadworks were due to continue until 2020, but a public petition has put pressure on Essex Highways to accelerate the works. Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYS

The A133 roadworks were due to continue until 2020, but a public petition has put pressure on Essex Highways to accelerate the works. Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYS

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Calls are being made for more investment to make Colchester safer for pedestrians and cyclists as work is set to resume on a vital road improvement scheme.

Gridlock on Ipswich Road is due to return as closures near Fenwick Drive return for almost four weeks Picture: COLCHESTER VIEWSGridlock on Ipswich Road is due to return as closures near Fenwick Drive return for almost four weeks Picture: COLCHESTER VIEWS

Work on the Ipswich Road and Harwich Road improvement scheme, involving the double roundabouts on Ipswich Road, is set to continue from Monday.

Residents and business owners blasted the works a “nightmare” when they started in October 2018. Initially expected to last 20 months, Essex Highways is carrying out the work to the two double roundabouts and narrowing St Andrew’s Avenue to one lane.

The highways agency offered to “accelerate” the works in 2019 in response to the complaints but no new finishing date is confirmed.

The Essex Highways map shows the 70-metre road closure and the recommended diversion route Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYSThe Essex Highways map shows the 70-metre road closure and the recommended diversion route Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYS

The northbound lane between Fenwick Drive and the Ipswich Road Roundabout, a short but vital stretch of road, will be shut for three week from Monday February 18 to Sunday March 11, preventing drivers heading north to the A12 and Severalls Business Park.

The following week, up to Friday March 15, it will be closed in both directions while Essex Highways finishes its work.

The 70-metre closure will mean drivers either have to take a two-mile diversion or use the railway crossing.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “We would like to thank everyone for their patience while the Ipswich Road and Harwich Road improvement scheme continues.

Cllr Chris Bentley on site at the A133 Ipswich Road roadworks Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYSCllr Chris Bentley on site at the A133 Ipswich Road roadworks Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYS

“This work really is essential. Without it, we run the risk of gridlock in a few years’ time, with dire impacts for the local economy.”

Ward councillor Darius Laws agreed that the work was necessary and argued; “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” But he wants to ensure measures are in place to support cyclists and pedestrians.

“We need to see an investment into road surfaces, more streetlights and more cameras so people in Colchester feel safer and able to use alternatives to cars,” said Mr Laws.

“But if it’s easier to jump in a car, that’s what people are going to do. Cars can’t be king forever.”

Colchester council’s cabinet member for infrastructure, Martin Goss, said Essex County Council has been receptive to feedback from the town.

“After the chaos caused last year they have taken on board what we and local business have said to minimise disruption as much as possible,” he added.

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