Ipswich steels itself for traffic hell as road near station to close for seven weeks

Road signs at the junction of Princes Street and Ranelagh Road

Road signs at the junction of Princes Street and Ranelagh Road - Credit: Archant

One of the busiest roads in Ipswich is set to be closed for seven weeks while engineers upgrade the traffic lights at the railway station forecourt.

A map showing the road to be closed.

A map showing the road to be closed. - Credit: Archant

Ranelagh Road between Princes Street and Ancaster Road will be closed from February 20 to allow engineers from Suffolk County Council to install new traffic lights at the station entrance and connect them up to those at Ancaster Road.

The council is warning that the road is likely to be closed for seven weeks and as well as connecting in the traffic lights, National Grid will be carrying out gas work between April 10 and 13.

But the news has provoked anger at Ipswich council – leader David Ellesmere has demanded a rethink of the plans.

He said: “This is totally unacceptable. There will be an outcry. The county must change the plans and keep the road at least partly open.

“If this goes ahead it will bring the town centre to a standstill with the knock-on effect and it will make it impossible for Ipswich Buses to operate, especially in the Chantry area.”

The town had already suffered badly from the Travel Ipswich programme – but this would be the worse than other road closures.

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“They say they are connecting the lights to the urban traffic management system. That sounds to us like Travel Ipswich which has not gone well – but this is going to be a disaster.”

He had written to county council leader Colin Noble to complain about the proposal – but had had no indication there could be a rethink.

The county says this is the final part of the Ipswich station forecourt rebuild – a programme that was supposed to be completed by Christmas and then by February.

Once the work at Ranelagh Road is complete, there is expected to be further work at the Princes Street and Ancaster Road junctions until the end of April – but this will not involve full-time road closures.

Suffolk County Council cabinet member for transport James Finch said: “We understand the closure will cause frustration but by working with our partners, the frustration caused by the works will be for a shorter period than if we were to work independently of each other, or to keep the road partially open.

“Throughout this work we will ensure access to the station will be available and maintained.”