MP raises concerns over Ipswich northern bypass cash

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has expressed fears over funds for a northern relief road Picture: DAVID GAR

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has expressed fears over funds for a northern relief road Picture: DAVID GARRAD

A Suffolk MP has raised questions over whether cash exists to fund a new northern bypass for Ipswich.

Sandy Martin has expressed concerns about how the project, which would provide an alternative to the Orwell Bridge, will be funded.

Calls for a new northern bypass have been reinvigorated by multiple closures of the bridge in the last year with traffic being forced through Ipswich on such occasions.

“We do need a road to the north – I met with Highways England last week, but they still say they can’t spend money on an alternative to the Orwell Bridge, despite the threat to Felixstowe,” he said. “Unless we can keep A14 traffic out of Ipswich town centre, and provide a link between north Ipswich and the A14 at Bury Road, we will never be able to address the congestion and air pollution that threatens our town.”

However, Highways England say that any plans for a northern bypass are still at an early stage and that money would not be something they could talk about without the business case currently being prepared by Suffolk County Council.

Even with such a case Highways England said that it would be up to the government to find any money if they felt it was appropriate for the scheme.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “During 2018 Suffolk County Council has been working hard to compile a business case on a northern route. This work is continuing and as soon as an update becomes available, we will share it with everyone.”

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When transport secretary Chris Grayling visited Ipswich earlier this year, he had talks with former SCC leader Colin Noble about the northern bypass. He confirmed the aim was to have a full business case for the project by the end of the year. Mr Grayling said at the time: “The list of things we need to do is very long indeed.

“Absolutely in each part of the country there are projects that are clear and obvious priorities.

“I try not to set exact date expectations, but there is no doubt that some of the improvements I have been talking about today with the local business community will have to happen.”

Mr Noble added: “We have also talked about the northern relief road and the £650,000 that Suffolk Public Sector Leaders have allocated to the business case, and we hope to have that on his desk towards the back of this year.”