Motorists told to brace for ‘challenging’ period as major route closes
- Credit: Archant
Major improvements to a key town centre junction could see motorists face a “challenging” start to the new year, with a busy section of the route closed for several weeks.
Drivers have been told Ipswich Road (South), which runs south of Cowdray Avenue next to the railway line, will be closed for six weeks from January 4.
Highways chiefs hope to have the overall project - which started in 2018 and aims to turn the double roundabouts connecting the town centre, the University of Essex and the A12 into two single roundabouts - finished by summer 2020.
Next month, work to widen the roundabout south of Cowdray Avenue, by building it out towards the railway line, will begin. Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and cabinet member for infrastructure, said: "The new part of the roundabout will be over the current railway verge, requiring metal piling to be driven into the subsoil to support the retaining wall for the road. Space must be left between the piling operation and the public for safety, so Ipswich Road (South) will be closed during the work."
John Baker, Liberal Democrat county councillor for the ward, said the Conservative-run council had dealt with the problems well - but added: "It will certainly be a very challenging time and it does have an impact on my constituents - especially with congestion in St John's Road. It definitely will have an impact but thankfully they have been sensible and informative. It is not ideal but I have asked for another meeting with the contractors in January to discuss the issue and to be assured of the plan's future. The timings of the work will cause disruption, but for now it is a case of watch this space."
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Although Ipswich Road South will be closed for 24 hours a day, work will be carried out between 7am and 8pm to minimise noisy disruption for residents - who will retain full access alongside businesses. Bus operators have also been informed. Mr Bentley added: "As the work moves along, we will look for any opportunities to adjust traffic management cones and barriers to improve traffic flow and minimise delays. All businesses in the area will be open as usual. Road users have been remarkably patient throughout these works, and I know people appreciate the investment and long term benefits to Colchester. I thank the businesses and individuals who are having to put up with renewed inconvenience."
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