Ipswich: Road changes will be hell – but we have to suffer!

WORK is finally beginning on the long-heralded Ipswich Fit for the 21st Century road improvement scheme, and I for one am dreading the next few months.

I drive around the Civic Drive/Princes Street roundabout every day to get to and from work. That will be the main focus of engineering work during the road changes.

There is an alternative route which I shall probably use while the work is going on – but I’m sure I won’t be the only one to have thought about that!

Some days when I know I won’t need to drive anywhere I may even catch a bus in or walk but life will be difficult.

But I know it’s absolutely necessary and when the work is completed, Ipswich will have a much more robust transport network.

That is not to say it will necessarily be any better for drivers – despite what many people think Ipswich is a pretty easy place to drive around. Try getting around Norwich, Cambridge, or Oxford in a car and you’ll soon see what I mean!

But we do need to make it easier for people to walk around the town if the heart of Ipswich is to start beating more healthily.

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Those of us who walk from the town centre to the railway station know it is pretty miserable making that trip – even though it is not that long. The changes to the roundabout and other measures on Princes Street will transform this.

Walking from the town to the Waterfront is not attractive. The changes will not address all the problems, but it will make it easier for pedestrians – and don’t forget there are two new budget hotels currently being built near the Waterfront and we want to encourage their guests to walk into the town centre.

Upgrading the traffic lights should be an “invisible” change – but if the experts are right it should make managing the vehicles going in and out of the town centre much smoother.

I know some people think that �21million could be better spent – but the fact is that if the town is not improved now, when will this happen?

If you put your head in the sand and pretend that there is no problem it won’t go away – it will just keep getting worse year on year until you wake up one day and realise you’ve strangled the town centre by not doing anything to improve it.

Other towns and cities have bitten the bullet – Norwich is now a much more pleasant place to visit because there was a radical change to traffic about 20 years ago.

It was hell while the work was being carried out, as it will be in Ipswich, but the end result was worth it.

No one in their right minds should look forward to the work – but in five years’ time everyone will be glad that we had the courage to bite the bullet.