Duke Street goes back to the future

IPSWICH: I’ve been around for a few years now, but I must confess I don’t remember the time when the Duke Street junction was anything other than a big roundabout holding up the traffic.

But this week my old friend Dave Kindred sent me an old Ordnance Survey map from 1881 showing how the junction looked in the days of horse-drawn carriages.

The astonishing thing is that it looks very similar to the junction that has now been proposed as the 21st century solution to what has become a serious bottleneck.

There may be traffic lights and one-way streets included in the new layout, but essentially it is exactly the same as it was 129 years ago.

Which made me wonder. Had the traffic experts who drew up the new traffic scheme for the junction spent their time rummaging around the vaults of the Suffolk Record Office to see what their great great great grandfathers had come up with.

Or was this “new” look something that emerged completely out of the blue – a proposal that owes nothing to the past and everything to the future?

I’m more than a tad sceptical about how it will work – the junction is one of the worst in Ipswich even at the best of times and I can’t escape the feeling that even with the improvements it will be a road for drivers to avoid whenever possible.

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It is not a junction that I have to use every day but my friends tell me that they are more likely to be held up there than anywhere else in Ipswich.

Perhaps the answer for us all will be simple – abandon our cars, and buy a horse and cart instead!