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Plans for Ipswich northern bypass business case delayed

PUBLISHED: 18:11 05 December 2018

Possible sites in Suffolk for the proposed northern bypass, 
Lower Road,Westerfield Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Possible sites in Suffolk for the proposed northern bypass, Lower Road,Westerfield Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The business case for a northern relief road in Ipswich has been delayed until at least 2019, it has emerged.

Possible routes for the northern by-pass Picture: ARCHANTPossible routes for the northern by-pass Picture: ARCHANT

In April, then-county council leader Colin Noble confirmed a business case for a northern bypass was underway, with the aim of having this ready by Christmas.

Suffolk County Council had confirmed on a number of occasions that the end of 2018 timescale was one it was still working towards.

Now, project chiefs say this is unlikely to be completed by January.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “Whilst it is unlikely that a business case will be with the Department for Transport by the end of next month, work is continuing on studies and assessments which will result in a strategic outline business case.

Jack Owen said the northern route was vital to Ipswich Picture: GREGG BROWNJack Owen said the northern route was vital to Ipswich Picture: GREGG BROWN

“There will be further stakeholder engagement and a consultation on this next year.”

It is not yet clear what the revised timetable is for the business case being ready.

The spokesman added that the work was taking longer than expected.

The planned northern relief road would run across the top of Ipswich and connect the A14 to the north west of the town with the A12 to the north east.

It is hoped it would ease congestion problems in Ipswich – particularly when the Orwell Bridge is closed and traffic, including lorries, has to divert through the town centre.

The confirmation of the delay comes just days after a report by the county council revealed there were also delays to the Upper Orwell Crossings announcement, which had originally been anticipated for December but is now expected at the end of January.

Councillor Jack Owen, Labour spokesman for highways, said: “I’m afraid to say that the council simply does not know what it is doing.

“They promised a report into the Ipswich northern bypass yet they have been unable to deliver even that.

“The fact that they are not able to confirm why this report has been delayed instantly creates questions and it is bizarre that they cannot even say when the report will be released. It is a real mess.

“The northern bypass is a strategically important development that will unlock the potential of our county town, but the development is already beset with issues.

“The Tories are happy to cancel the much needed Sudbury bypass, fight to keep alive the vanity project that is the Upper Orwell Crossing and they are now dragging their feet on the northern bypass.”

While there is strong support within Ipswich for a northern route, opposition remains north of the town in areas which would be affected by the construction.

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