Engineering works on Ipswich road – for 14th time in six months!
One of the busiest roads in Ipswich has been partially closed for more roadworks – for the 14th time in just six months.
Temporary traffic lights were introduced on Handford Road between Portman Road and Civic Drive yesterday morning, just three days after the previous lights were removed on Friday afternoon.
The latest work means that Suffolk County Council has been informed by utility companies of 14 separate incidents when the road has had to be partially closed over the last six months.
A spokeswoman for the authority said the majority of these incidents had been caused by BT, which has its telephone exchange nearby.
She said: “Wherever possible our network assurance team does its best to co-ordinate planned road works with utility companies in order to keep disruption for road users and local residents to a minimum.
“However this is not always possible due to scheduling conflicts and emergency repair works needing to take place. The type of works required also needs to be taken into account when planning any co-ordination, for example for safety reasons water works and electrical works cannot be undertaken simultaneously.”
The council is particularly concerned that the work is scheduled to continue over the weekend when Ipswich Town are due to play Norwich City in the Championship play-offs semi-final first leg.
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“In this particular location we also need to be mindful of how roadworks will impact upon the increased traffic generated on match days around Ipswich Town Football Club.
“Frequently works are suspended or called off in order for traffic to flow as freely as possible on these occasions, and are therefore rescheduled for a more convenient time.”
The county’s cabinet member for transport Graham Newman said the frequency of works showed how necessary it was to introduce a system of permits for roadworks – even for utilities who have the right to dig up roads.
He said: “This kind of thing is very frustrating. You get one bit of work finished then the next one starts up. That is a very important road and this kind of disruption is a major problem for the whole town centre.”
A spokesman for BT said: “Openreach is currently working at this location to install underground cabling to provide Superfast fibre broadband for the local BDUK programme.
“The work which has been agreed will continue until 12th May. Openreach would like to apologise for any inconvenience whilst this essential work is carried out but hopes the benefit of an additional homes and business receiving fibre will make it worth it in the long run.”
He pointed out that the timing of the play-off match had not been determined until last weekend, by which time the work was already scheduled – but they would investigate whether the work could be suspended.