March 9 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The lights are going on all over Ipswich – or at least they will if the traffic planners have their way!
Suffolk County Council is starting consultations on proposals to introduce traffic lights at the junctions between Nacton Road and Felixstowe Road at the top of Bishop’s Hill and at the Woodbridge Road/Argyle Street junction.
However proposals to convert the Norwich Road/Valley Road mini-roundabout have been dropped – although a new pedestrian crossing is set to be introduced on Norwich Road outside the McCarthy and Stone sheltered housing development.
The proposals to carry out the work as part of the £21 million Travel Ipswich project were first unveiled last year, but provoked a public outcry and the council promised that nothing would happen until there had been further consultations this year.
Now it has published its proposals which were unveiled to councillors yesterday and are due to go on public display later this week.
The county insists that when computer-controlled traffic systems are switched on during the spring, traffic should start to flow more freely in the town centre.
The proposals for traffic lights in Norwich Road and at the top of Bishop’s Hill should help to ease traffic flows and ease congestion in the town centre said Andrew Guttridge, assistant director of highways and transport at the county council.
He accepted that the Nacton Road junction worked well at present: “There is no problem at that junction, but introducing lights there should improve the road network across east Ipswich. It will ease the pressure on the lights heading into town, especially during morning rush hours.”
The Woodbridge Road lights would make it easier for traffic heading into the town – and for pedestrians trying to cross the road.
Mr Guttridge emphasised nothing had been finally decided, and the county was keen to get the views of road users.
He said: “Things should improve when the lights are linked up with each other to allow traffic to flow better. That should make journeys around town much better.”
The county is also looking for the public’s views on proposals to pave the top of Princes Street and Queen Street.
The details will be published on the council’s website www.suffolk.gov.uk and also go on show in the Tower Ramparts centre in the heart of Ipswich.
However former borough council leader Liz Harsant is not impressed by the plans to install more traffic lights – especially the Nacton Road proposal – it is a junction she uses regularly.
She said: “I think they’re crazy. If you put lights there you will get traffic queuing right along Felixstowe Road and Nacton Road at busy times.
“And you’ll get people having to make hill starts on Bishop’s Hill where there’s no problem at all at present – that will cause problems for some drivers and it will have a knock-on effect back into town.
“I’ve always said this is unnecessary and will cause many more problems, but no one has listened. I’ve come to accept this will go through anyway!”
Graham Newman, the county’s cabinet member for transport, said: “As part of the town-wide plan to establish and develop the urban traffic management control system, it’s key that we link up the right junctions in order for the system to work to its full potential.
“To do this we’ve sought advice from experts who have successfully implemented similar schemes in other towns and cities, allowing us to develop three proposals for junctions in Ipswich which enable the system to work at maximum efficiency as well as promoting better pedestrian and cycle movements in the centre.”