10 more months of traffic chaos from Travel Ipswich

Traffic congestion on Wherstead Road in Ipswich.

Traffic congestion on Wherstead Road in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Work on theTravel Ipswich roadworks started in summer 2012 and were supposed to be finished by Easter 2014.

Now there’s been a warning from Suffolk County Council that the full benefits of Travel Ipswich won’t be felt until August 2017.

Meanwhile frustrated motorists claim that reaching the town centre is worse than ever with traffic lights stopping traffic regularly and forcing vehicles to wait at green lights because of red lights ahead.

The final part of the original plans for the Travel Ipswich project, so far as traffic is concerned, was completed in August with switch on of new lights in St Helen’s Street and St Margaret’s Street.

These have been connected up to a computer system which is designed to try to allow the traffic to flow better.

However a spokesman for the county council warned that it could take up to a year for enough data to be obtained by the lights to make the traffic flow as smooth as possible.

The problems with traffic in the town centre have caused irritation to motorists for years and the chief executive of Ipswich Central, Paul Clement, said he hoped businesses and shoppers would feel the work was ultimately worthwhile.

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He said: “It has been a long project and businesses are generally hoping this will bring improvements for traffic heading to and from the town centre.

“They will be hoping the improvements start to show themselves before a year has gone.”

Mr Clement said Ipswich Central members had not reported any significant extra problems over the last two weeks – but there were issues on particular days. Yesterday traffic was heavier than normal, possibly because of the start of survey work in Wherstead Road.

Ipswich council’s portfolio holder for transport, Phil Smart, said the work on Travel Ipswich had taken longer than planned and was disappointed it did not seem to be as positive for buses as it could have been.

He said: “Buses are only given priority if they are running late, so there is no incentive to try to speed up their schedules.

“We have a good bus network in the town, and ultimately the best way of taking cars off the road is to persuade drivers to use buses instead.”

Mr Smart said he could understand why it would take so long to configure the computer system, adding: “You do need 12 months of data because traffic acts differently at different times of the year – driving patterns are different to Christmas than in the middle of the summer.”

<n>Has Travel Ipswich made your life better? Write to Starletters@archant.co.uk or Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook St, Ipswich, IP4 1AN