Do you think Ipswich’s road network has got better or worse in the last five years?
Today we are asking readers about the state of Ipswich’s road network, traffic management and roadworks - and whether the situation is improving or slowly getting worse.
During a year in which severe delays have plagued key routes, including Woodbridge Road East, College Street, Norwich Road, Wherstead Road and Heath Road, as well as areas such as Ropes Drive in Kesgrave, more and more readers have written to us and commented online about their frustration with Ipswich’s roads.
Are roadworks co-ordinated well enough? Have you been affected by roadworks on your way to work? We’re now inviting you, as part of our Roadworks Watch campaign, to tell us your thoughts on whether you have been held up, how often you have seen work taking place, and whether the roads are better now than five years ago.
While some work is carried out by Suffolk County Council’s highways teams, others are done by utilities firms making necessary repairs and improvements.
Recent work by Anglian Water at the Ropes Drive East roundabout was condemned by readers for no prior warning signs having been put in place, while various sites have been seen to cause disruption with no workers present.
Sandra Gage, Labour’s county council opposition spokeswoman for roads, transport and planning, said budget cutbacks and a lack of co-ordination have not been adequately addressed by the county council causing continued frustration for motorists.
“We do not have an improved highway network in terms of maintenance to the roads – we are still seeing potholes taking too long to be filled, residential roads in a poor state unsafe for cyclists – but my main concern is Suffolk County Council is still planning to cut further funding from the maintenance budget come February, and they have done that year on year for the last four years.
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“I have seen as a result a corresponding reduction in road standards.”
Ms Gage highlighted other issues including a lack of co-ordination with utility firms, and the renewal of the roadworks contract with Kier as problems, which has resulted in her calling for a permit scheme to be introduced as part of sanctions for overrunning works, reinvestment in maintenance and better co-ordination.
She added: “Utilities should be made to work to our convenience not theirs, and we should not have traffic lights on busy roads for a whole week when there is only a couple of days of work.”
A spokesman from Suffolk County council’s highways department declined to comment until after feedback had been gathered from the Star’s survey, but highways and transport cabinet member James Finch previously said: “Ipswich has undergone an extensive period of highways improvement during the last few years to provide pedestrians and road users with a range of ways to move around the town that aren’t only focused specifically on car movements.
“We are of course committed to continued investment in the county town to ensure all road users are as safe as possible.
“We work with all utilities to co-ordinate planned works where possible but there are times when emergencies happen and we need to enable these utilities to carry out their work urgently.”
Mr Finch encouraged people to find out more about roadworks affecting them by visiting www.roadworks.org, and to report anything believed to be bad practice or dangerous through the council’s online reporting tool.