£3m bid to cut Waterfront traffic hell

A RADICAL bid to cut congestion at a major pinch point in Ipswich has been submitted to government in an attempt to secure £3million in funding.

Neil Puffett

A RADICAL bid to cut congestion at a major pinch point in Ipswich has been submitted to government in an attempt to secure £3million in funding.

County chiefs want to improve traffic flow around the town's Waterfront by bulldozing the Duke Street roundabout and redesigning the road layout.

The shake-up would see Fore Street and Fore Hamlet link up to become a single road with Back Hamlet and Duke Street branching off at separate junctions.

New sets of traffic lights would control the flow of vehicles around the area. It is hoped it would ease pressure on the roundabout - a known bottleneck - allowing motorists to move more freely through the area.

One potentially controversial aspect of the scheme would see access to Fore Street from Back Hamlet ended with traffic only allowed from the opposite direction.

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Guy McGregor, responsible for transport at Suffolk County Council, said the first stage of the bid for cash for the project has been accepted.

More detailed information has now been submitted and a decision should be made by February.

Mr McGregor said: “This is a pretty awful location.

“We all know it's a diabolical roundabout.

“This scheme will take the roundabout out and put in access for buses allowing them to ease through the traffic

“It will enable buses to get through the area much quicker.”

The project is one of 36 schemes across the UK shortlisted for funding out of an initial 160 bids.

Mr McGregor said that should funding be secured work on the project is likely to get under way in 2010.

The project has been pitched as key to supporting 15,400 new and yet to be built homes in the Waterfront area.

- Will the changes improve traffic flow? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Traffic problems:-

The stretch of Fore Street affected by the new set of traffic lights is just a few hundred yards from the Star Lane gyratory system-one of the town's major traffic hotspots.

The area is notorious for lengthy queues of traffic throughout the day, with the situation becoming worse in recent years due to the construction of major developments along the Waterfront.

The gyratory system has been flagged up as a pollution hotspot in the town as a result of slow-moving and stationary vehicles emitting dangerous nitrogen dioxide fumes.

The crossing at the University Campus Suffolk opened in October to allow students to access the landmark's Waterfront building. Congestion has been building around peak hours when students head to and leave from the university.

Last month traffic jams improved slightly when adjustments were made to the timings on the crossings however commuters still insist queues are a big issue in the area.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: “The council has adjusted the timings to ensure that cars get a higher proportion of 'green time' and this seems to be having a positive impact.

“We will also be considering whether it would be sensible to remove one of the zebra crossings to the west of the toucan and whether the toucan timings would benefit from being electronically linked to the timings of the Lord Nelson toucan.”

Alternative solutions:-

- A footbridge over the road -however this could prove costly.

- A subway-style tunnel- this would be likely to cost even more

- Removing the traffic lights and diverting people towards the zebra crossing 100 yards further down the road the junction with Grimwade Street.