�3.2million cure for traffic bottleneck

A MAJOR engineering project to get rid of one of Suffolk's worst traffic pinch points has been given the go-ahead by the Government, which is also going to pick up the �3.

Graham Dines

A MAJOR engineering project to get rid of one of Suffolk's worst traffic pinch points has been given the go-ahead by the Government, which is also going to pick up the �3.2m bill.

Duke Street roundabout in Ipswich, at the bottom of Bishop's Hill, is a notorious bottleneck in the morning rush-hour, leading to delays of up to 30 minutes for traffic trying to reach the town centre.

The number of vehicles using the junction has increased as the major housing schemes on Ipswich waterfront and also the new university have opened.

The plan is to provide bus lanes leading up to the junction, to install traffic signals to improve traffic circulation at the roundabout, and to make environmental improvements.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk's transport portfolio holder, said the council had demonstrated its support for Ipswich by asking central government to give the Duke Street high priority. “Earlier this year, outline plans for the �25m “Ipswich fit for the 21st century” programme, which will improve access to the town centre and increase the pedestrian areas, were approved.

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“The two schemes together will revolutionise accessibility to business and commercial centres of Ipswich.”

The county council bid for the cash from a Government programme which supports new housing by improving transport infrastructure. Work is expected to start later this year.

Eight schemes have been given the go-ahead in the region by housing minister Margaret Beckett, who said: “This funding will help to deliver new homes that the East of England desperately needs to meet long term demand from first time buyers and families on waiting lists.

“We know that good transport links are vital to successful communities and these projects will unlock the potential for new housing where it is needed.

“By investing today in tomorrow's infrastructure we are helping to ensure the foundations are in place to support economic recovery, while also creating and safeguarding jobs right now,” said Mrs Beckett.

Barbara Follett, the regional minister for the East of England, added: “The funding announced today will help to improve vital transport links and support the resolution of the region's long term housing needs.”

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