Northern by-pass raised in parliament as traffic chaos hits Ipswich again

Sandy Martin raised the northern by-pass in parliament.

Sandy Martin raised the northern by-pass in parliament.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has asked for talks with transport ministers about building a new road across the north of the town – as it emerged that more than half a million pounds has been committed to planning a new route.

The flurry of activity came as Ipswich was reeling again from traffic problems caused by the closure of the Orwell Bridge during Thursday morning’s rush hour.

Mr Martin raised the issue during Transport Questions in the House of Commons.

He asked Roads Minister Jesse Norman: “The Orwell Bridge was closed again yesterday, forcing around 5,000 lorries from Felixstowe – the UK’s largest container port – to take two hours each getting through Ipswich.

“Will the Secretary of State urgently meet with myself and the other local MPs to expedite a Northern By-pass?”

Mr Norman replied: “I will be delighted to meet the hon Gentleman and colleagues about that.

“As he will be aware, the DFT was awarded £77 million at spring Budget 2016 for the Upper Orwell crossings. That scheme was one of the first large local majors to be funded. We will happily revisit any discussion he wishes to have on this topic.”

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Mr Martin said afterwards that he would be seeking a meeting with transport ministers and officials from the town to discuss the need for a northern by-pass.

Meanwhile the county council’s bid to build a northern relief road between the A14 near Claydon and the A12 near Martlesham has received a £550,000 boost from leaders of Suffolk’s local authorities.

They have agreed to find the money to help finance a study looking at the business case for the road – a vital document if it is going to get government for a project that could cost more than £150m.

Suffolk County Council’s leader Colin Noble said: “Yesterday’s storm and Orwell Bridge closure showed yet again that Ipswich needs a northern relief road. Residents need it so life doesn’t grind to a standstill and businesses need it so livelihoods aren’t affected by poor weather.

“I’m delighted that we’re now able to push ahead to the next stage of this major project. The county council is fully committed to delivering a northern relief road for Ipswich, Suffolk and the UK economy as a whole.”