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Three Ipswich rat runs to be closed to traffic from next week

PUBLISHED: 12:08 25 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:04 25 June 2020

The narrow Westbury Road in Ipswich is regularly used as a rat run between Colchester Road and Rushmere Road. Picture: JASON NOBLE

The narrow Westbury Road in Ipswich is regularly used as a rat run between Colchester Road and Rushmere Road. Picture: JASON NOBLE

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Three Ipswich roads are to be closed to motorists using them as rat runs from next week, after years of problems with nuisance traffic.

Roadblocks will be placed at the end of Westbury Road close to the Rushmere Road junction. Picture: JASON NOBLERoadblocks will be placed at the end of Westbury Road close to the Rushmere Road junction. Picture: JASON NOBLE

From July 1, a six-month trial will begin which prevents rat-running in Leopold Road, Westbury Road and Norbury Road – three narrow roads regularly used by traffic between the busy Colchester Road and Rushmere Road routes.

MORE: Cycling measures in Suffolk unveiled for coronavirus lockdown easing

It comes after funding was made available as part of the coronavirus lockdown easing measures, where road changes will be made in key areas that can help encourage people to cycle rather than use their cars.

Sandra Gage, Suffolk county councillor for the Rushmere division, said: “For years these streets between Rushmere Road and Colchester Road have been plagued by unnecessary rat running.

“All three roads are narrow in places or all along their length, and the footways are narrow too.

The locations of the roadblocks in the Rushmere area of Ipswich to prevent rat-running. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe locations of the roadblocks in the Rushmere area of Ipswich to prevent rat-running. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

“With only limited off-road parking for households, it is often difficult for residents to park, or leave their drive, or cross the road as pedestrians, or for children to walk to nearby schools while non-residents’ cars are driving through, often at speed.

“This situation has become far more critical in the last three months.

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“Increased walking and cycling, coupled with the need to socially distance, have convinced me that these roads in Rushmere are crying out to have unnecessary motor traffic removed.”

Rushmere division councillor at Suffolk County Council, Sandra Gage, said closing the rat running routes between Colchester Road and Rushmere Road had been a problem for motorists for years. Picture: IBCRushmere division councillor at Suffolk County Council, Sandra Gage, said closing the rat running routes between Colchester Road and Rushmere Road had been a problem for motorists for years. Picture: IBC

The measures will feature roadblocks placed at the Rushmere Road end of Westbury Road and the Leopold Road junction with Sidegate Avenue.

It means that those who live in those roads can still come and go or welcome visitors, deliveries can be made and refuse crews can collect waste, but prevents cars using them as a shortcut.

Ms Gage has written to the homes in those three roads outlining the measures, and urged people to share their thoughts on the trial or highlight any problems which may arise.

A survey carried out by Ms Gage in 2016 of homes in Westbury Road and Norbury Road found 83% thought rat running was the biggest traffic concern.

The narrow part of Leopold Road which causes an issue when motorists use the road as a shortcut. Picture: JASON NOBLEThe narrow part of Leopold Road which causes an issue when motorists use the road as a shortcut. Picture: JASON NOBLE

While questions have previously been asked about solutions to the problem, funding had not been available in previous years.

The coronavirus fund for road improvements meant the trial changes could begin this year, and costs around £2,000 to trial.

It is hoped that the initial roadblocks to begin the scheme can be replaced with more attractive planters this summer.

Ms Gage added: “We have a unique opportunity now with car traffic down by 40% and cycling and walking at levels not seen in decades, to try something different. It is a chance to improve the quality of life where people live, reduce air pollution, create safer spaces, and support cycling and walking for short journeys.”


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