Highways chiefs say they will not defend roadworks where no work happens in Ipswich

Empty roadworks left on Spring Rd.

Empty roadworks left on Spring Rd. - Credit: Archant

Highways bosses say they will not condone roadworks where no work is undertaken - after the Ipswich Star encountered four locations in just ONE hour where disruption was being caused but no work taking place.

Following the launch of our Roadworks Watch campaign on Monday, the Ipswich Star took to the streets between 12pm and 1pm yesterday and found roadworks - but no contractors - in four places.

It comes as motorists voice increasing frustration about delays on the town’s road network - with uncoordinated roadworks and over-running repairs causing problems.

In the Star’s snapshot survey yesterday, work was not being carried out on the roadworks in Burrell Road, Woodbridge Road, Spring Road and Woodbridge Road East in the period between 12pm and 1pm. We cannot verify whether work happened at other points in the day.

Last night, James Finch, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I cannot defend and I do not intend to defend roadworks undertaken by utilities where nothing is going on.

“However it is important to point out that if there’s nothing going on at any particular roadworks, there is often a logical reason such as the team disposing of materials elsewhere perhaps.

“I know that when the Suffolk Highways team have roadworks going on, we endeavour to get in and get the work done as quickly as possible to reduce disruption to road users.”

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Earlier this week, temporary traffic lights were put up by Anglian Water in Woodbridge Road for a suspected leak.

Work was also happening in Burrell Road by the same company for a burst water main, again with no one present on more than one occasion in the morning.

An Anglian Water spokeswoman said: “We know roadworks can be disruptive and we’re sorry if road users have experienced delays. We always try to make sure leaks are investigated as quickly and safely as possible and this sometimes means using traffic lights to keep our staff and customers safe.”

Elsewhere, three separate trips past National Grid roadworks in Spring Road – a key route into town for motorists in east Ipswich – resulted in not one contractor being seen.

On Monday it was confirmed that work by National Grid to replace pipes around the Heath Road roundabout would now take 13 weeks instead of the projected six, but drives at both rush hour and lunchtime failed to find any work actually taking place.

A National Grid spokeswoman said kerbs around Heath Road had been replaced on Tuesday and asphalt laid yesterday, meaning it had to be left at least 24 hours for the asphalt to set. The spokeswoman added that it hoped the road would be open by rush hour on Friday afternoon, while resurfacing work was set to take place in Spring Road today.

The Star’s Roadworks Watch campaign is calling for work to be carried out as swiftly, efficiently and in the most coordinated way possible.

We want readers to tell us where they think things are going wrong. And, in particular, send us pictures of disruptive roadworks where no work actually seems to be taking place.

A county council spokesman added that motorists could check www.roadworks.org for live roadwork updates.

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