Ipswich northern bypass task group to assess alternatives for town traffic woes
PUBLISHED: 07:30 18 February 2020
A task force is to be formed to examine how to improve traffic congestion in Ipswich as highways chiefs prepare to formally mothball plans for a northern bypass.
Suffolk Count Council has been told not to pursue a northern bypass because of the strong opposition against it and seven figure sum needed to move to the next stage.
READ MORE: Highways England's long-awaited plan to tackle Orwell Bridge closures
Instead, the council's Conservative cabinet will be asked to form a task force which will look at ways of improving capacity at key junctions, and encourage other ways of travel such as walking, cycling and public transport.
The council will also continue to lobby central government for A14 investment and a solution to Orwell Bridge closures.
The report said: "In order for the project to proceed to the next stage, the council, as the transport authority for Suffolk, would need clarity on the willingness and ability of district and borough councils to deliver such growth, beyond that already committed to in their respective local plans, and to confirm political support for the project.
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"East Suffolk Council, Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils have stated that they cannot support these issues."
Funding by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders only gets to the current stage, and in order to progress would require around £3million in Department for Transport cash to pursue a full business case.
While the consultation and study found there was a strong economic case to be made for pursuing a bypass, more than two thirds of consultation respondents said they did not want to see a road built.
The report continued: "The cabinet is asked to continue to support ongoing work to secure improvements to the A14, its junctions and the Orwell Bridge by Highways England; to identify improvements to support economic growth in Suffolk, and to bid for funding; to set up a task force to build on existing initiatives to optimise existing road capacity and promote modal shift in Ipswich and the wider area to reduce congestion and support growth."
Firm details for the task force and its timeline of work have not yet been unveiled, with more details anticipated in the coming weeks once the northern route has formally been ruled out.
It comes as Highways England has pledged to have a reduced 40mph speed limit for the Orwell Bridge during high winds in place by next winter.