Could bypass solve town's traffic chaos?

SERIOUS consideration should be given to a northern bypass for Ipswich with gridlock on the A14 looming.

SERIOUS consideration should be given to a northern bypass for Ipswich with gridlock on the A14 looming.

That was the view today of Ipswich Borough Council's transport spokesman Paul West, who said the time was also nearing when Suffolk's county town may have to put a stop to its growth.

Highways experts say the A14 around the edge of Ipswich will reach maximum capacity by 2012 - leaving motorists facing daily delays and making the rush-hour a nightmare journey.

Already plagued by frequent closures due to crashes, the extra traffic - which could include visitors to SnOasis if it gets the go-ahead and one million more lorries when Felixstowe port expands - will create the possibility of more accidents and disruption.

Mr West said: “There are no easy answers and the problems we are now experiencing and having to cope with are due in part to the growth of the area and its success.

“I think a northern bypass is one of the answers, though I accept it is long-term.

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“It's a pity that 15 years ago when it was looked at people didn't think long-term to help us out today.

“Nevertheless, although something is long-term it doesn't mean we should kick it into the long grass - I think the time has come to give it serious consideration and to begin an investigation into all the implications.

“It is the obvious logical step.”

Mr West was sceptical over suggestions of a second Orwell Bridge, and while he felt rail transport serving the region was poor, there was still a need to pursue improvements to rail and bus services.

Traffic management on the A14 would also be vital - especially in constantly improving the methods of dealing with accidents and incidents to prevent long closures.

“We have seen enormous growth in the area in recent years, both in and around Ipswich and at the Port of Felixstowe, which is a double-edged sword as that brings more traffic,” said Mr West.

“I think there will come a time when then there has got to be an acceptance publicly that perhaps there is a limit to economic growth and that we just cannot keep expanding an area.”

The new Haven Gateway report says a number of projects are being looked at to try to solve the impending congestion problems - including new railway stations at Martlesham and SnOasis, bus improvements, additional park and ride, travel to work schemes, road pricing in Ipswich, and variable speed limits on the A14.

Do you think it's time for a northern bypass for Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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