The preferred positions of Ipswich’s Upper Orwell Crossings have been announced by Suffolk County Council.
The main crossing is proposed to connect to the existing highway at the Rapier Street roundabout on Wherstead Rd, west of the river, and at a new junction, north of Cliff Lane on Holywells Road, east of the river. The bridge crosses the river at an angle and incorporates an opening section over the navigation channel.
The second crossing will provide a new vehicular link to the Wet Dock Island site and is proposed to be accessed from Felaw Street. The third crossing is a refurbishment of the existing swing bridge over the lock for use by cyclists and pedestrians.
The crossings will improve journey times through and around Ipswich, benefitting those that live and work in the town and form a key project for the Ipswich Vision. New Anglia LEP awarded £2million through its Growth Deal with HM Government to support the feasibility study for the options on the crossings.
The images of the preferred alignments do not show details of the structure or any of the supporting piers, as the design of the crossings continues and will be announced ahead of the formal consultation later this year.
On March 6, the crossings’ project team will be hosting a public information day in the ground floor foyer of Dance East. The event, which will run between 12noon and 7pm, is a drop-in event and will give members of the public the opportunity to meet the team and ask questions about the Upper Orwell Crossings.
Cllr Colin Noble, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “This is a big announcement for the project, underlining our commitment to completing these crossings.
“These crossings will bring in major benefits to Ipswich and beyond, not only reducing congestion and improving journeys within Ipswich but also encouraging investment in the area and enabling stalled development to come forward.
“These benefits are reflected in the support the project has received from business leaders.”
Cllr Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich, said: “A lot of work was needed to find an alignment that minimises the impact of the bridge on land, property and access before this announcement could be made.
“I’m very pleased we can now share this information and I and the team look forward to talking with people about it, and the public information day on 6 March will provide a great opportunity to do so.”
The timeline for the crossings remains on track and it is anticipated construction of the crossings will begin in 2020 with completion scheduled for 2023.
Ground investigation works are continuing, with samples being taken on land and in the riverbed.
Good progress is being made and the works in the River Orwell are likely to be finished ahead of schedule. The samples collected as part of this process are vital as it will affect the type and depth of foundations for the bridge and approach embankments.
The team continues to work with affected landowners, businesses and a wide range of stakeholders to minimise impacts on those most located closest to the crossings and is very grateful for their cooperation to date.
Weekly updates on the progress of the ground investigations will be published online at www.suffolk.gov.uk/upperorwellcrossings
You can find out more about the Upper Orwell Crossings here
You can find out more about the Ipswich Vision here