Ipswich: Get a glimpse at plans for new transport scheme

ipswich: Traffic lights that talk to each other, buses which get priority if they are running late, and real time updates on bus timetables are some of the highlights of a new transport scheme being unveiled to the public next week.

The �21.5million project, entitled Ipswich – Transport Fit for the 21st Century, aims to revamp the town centre to reduce congestion and make it easier for pedestrians and bike riders to get around.

Members of the public will get the chance to scrutinise the plans for the first time at an exhibition in the Lower Mall of Tower Ramparts shopping centre from next Wednesday, October 12, until October 19.

Staff and councillors will be on hand from 10.30am to 4.30pm to explain the changes in detail, and answer questions about what the work, set to take place between March 2012 and June 2014, will involve.

Suffolk County Councillor Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning, said: “The overarching scheme is to improve the overall quality of life in Ipswich. It’s all about improving the built environment and the look of the town so it’s a really atractive place to live, work and do business, so it’s something we can all be proud of.

“The vast majority of journeys in the town centre – more than 55 per cent – are by people who live in Ipswich, so if we can provide people with alternatives for these relatively short journeys, then everyone’s experience will be better.”

Some of the biggest changes affecting the town’s road networks will be transforming the roundabout at Princes Street and Civic Drive into a junction with pedestrian crossings, pictured, better seating and lighting at the Old Cattle Market and Tower Ramparts bus stations, and closing off part of Upper Orwell Street to cars.

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The joint scheme set up by Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council has sparked a huge debate in the town, with many critical of the amount being invested or concerned about disruption as the works take place.

Mr McGregor added: “There will be roadworks but it won’t be excessive, and we ask people to bear with us as we get this work underway.

“In many ways, this is the best time to be investing because we will get the best prices, so it’s absolutely the time to carry this forward.

“If it wasn’t cracking good value for money and didn’t meet all the objectives in terms of air quality and traffic flow, then we wouldn’t have got the funding to do it.”

View the exhibition in detail at Tower Ramparts, or by going to www.ipswichtransport21c.co.uk from October 12.

n What do you think of the new scheme? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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