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Upper Orwell Crossings display sparks interest at Ipswich’s Dance East

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 06 March 2018

An exhibition and drop-in session on the new Upper Orwell Crossing plans. Picture: NEIL PERRY

An exhibition and drop-in session on the new Upper Orwell Crossing plans. Picture: NEIL PERRY

Hundreds of people turned out to discover more about the plans for the new Upper Orwell Crossings which went on display at Dance East in Ipswich.

An aerial view of the Upper Orwell Crossings.  Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL An aerial view of the Upper Orwell Crossings. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Suffolk County Council organised the exhibition to show off the proposed routes for the three bridges planned as part of the crossings.

The new bridge from Felaw Street to the Island Site and a new public footway/cyclepath over the lock at the end of the Wet Dock are relatively uncontroversial.

However, the large bridge from the west bank to Cliff Quay, about 600 metres from Hawes Street/Wherstead Road to Holywells Road, has sparked some concerns – mainly from people living to the east of the river.

The route shows it passing over Cliff Road – the entrance to the Cliff Quay terminal of Ipswich Port – and with Toller Road closed.

That would mean lorries heading for the port from Wherstead Road or Landseer Road would have to travel to the Cliff Road/Duke Street roundabout to double-back on themselves to reach the port.

There are also concerns that the new roundabout on Holywells Road will make life even more difficult for drivers from Cliff Lane who already have a very difficult junction to cope with where that meets Holywells Road and Landseer Road.

A team of officials from Suffolk County Council were joined by cabinet member for Ipswich Paul West at Dance East foyer during a seven-hour session on Tuesday.

Mr West was delighted to see such a good turnout – and hoped people would be assured that their views counted.

An exhibition and drop-in session on the new Upper Orwell Crossing plans. Picture: NEIL PERRY An exhibition and drop-in session on the new Upper Orwell Crossing plans. Picture: NEIL PERRY

He said: “Strictly speaking this isn’t a consultation, it is public engagement – we want people to see what our current thinking is.

“We are looking for local people to take part in discussions before the details are completed – details of that are on the council website.

“It is certainly encouraging that so many people have come along here today – it is important that we find out what people think.”

Further events are due to take place on the east and west banks of the Orwell over the next few months.

Local resident Robin Dowsing said he was not opposed to the bridge, but was concerned about the junctions: “The Cliff Lane junction is already very bad. If this goes ahead something serious will have to be done to the road network.”

New Ipswich bridges should ease congestion and boost regeneration

The Upper Orwell Crossings include three bridges and there are two main aims behind their construction.

They should allow the development of the Island Site at the Wet Dock as a new technology centre linked to the University of Suffolk – linked by small bridges across the New Cut and a foot and cycle path across the Wet Dock lock.

The main bridge from Cliff Quay to the West Bank should ease traffic congestion around the Star Lane gyratory – although it could put more vehicles on to Wherstead Road, Landseer Road and Cliff Lane.

The main bridge will have an opening section in the middle – but it should be high enouth for the overwhelming majority of vessels that use the Wet Dock.

The new crossings will cost about £100m. Of this £77m has been committed by the government with the remainder coming from Suffolk County Council. Work should start in 2020 and the bridges should open in 2023.

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