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Concrete blockage on Ipswich riverside cycle path set to be cleared

PUBLISHED: 17:59 12 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:59 12 October 2020

The concrete barrier is impassable for cyclists. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The concrete barrier is impassable for cyclists. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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A new section of one of the country’s main cycle routes is set to be created when the Environment Agency removes a concrete blockage on the Gipping River Path between Ipswich and Sproughton.

The National Cycle Route is blocked by a concrete structure at the edge of Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe National Cycle Route is blocked by a concrete structure at the edge of Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The concrete barrier has steps so pedestrians can walk over it – but Sustrans National Route 51 – which links Felixstowe with Oxford – comes to an abrupt end at the barrier and cyclists have to double-back and cycle through Ipswich streets.

MORE: Get on your bike say traffic planners

The block also prevents cyclists reaching the new Eastern Gateway Enterprise Park being built on the site of the former Sproughton sugar beet factory – even though the site itself is being built with cycle routes and bike parks as part of its infrastructure.

National Route 51 runs along the Gipping from the town centre to the borough boundary just behind the Morrison’s store. It is well-maintained and has street lights – but the last half-mile ends at the concrete. Walkers can continue up and over the steps along a wide path under the bridge carrying the main rail line.

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The route is promoted by Suffolk County Council which is trying to persuade more people to walk or cycle in a bid to ease congestion on the roads. A spokeswoman for the council said: “The Environment Agency has secured some funding to remove the concrete blockage and continue the cycle route to the new Eastern Gateway.

“Plans are currently being drawn up. At the moment there is no set date for implementation.”

An Environment Agency spokeswoman confirmed that their engineers were looking at removing the concrete structure – which would not only open up a safe cycle route to the new business park, but would also give an attractive safe cycle route to the village of Sproughton and, potentially, to new housing developments that are due to be built in the area over future years.

MORE: Why more cycle routes would be good for Ipswich

Providing safe, traffic-free routes, is seen as vital in persuading people who may not have used a cycle to get back on their bike to help ease traffic congestion and get around major towns easily.

At present the River Gipping cycle path ends at Yarmouth Road and cyclists then use the wide pavement from there and along West End Road to get into the town centre – but one of the proposals in the Ipswich Town Deal is to extend the path into the town centre itself.


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