‘It will be chaos’ – seven day closure of Woodbridge Road will add to ‘nightmare’ travel in Ipswich

Work continues to repair the collapsed sewer in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

Work continues to repair the collapsed sewer in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

Residents fear the SEVEN-DAY closure of Woodbridge Road to fix a collapsed sewer will make Ipswich even more of a “nightmare” to travel around this week.

Work continues to repair the collapsed sewer in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

Work continues to repair the collapsed sewer in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

A stretch of the road between Cauldwell Avenue and Boston Road will be closed in both directions until at least Saturday while Anglian Water carries out emergency repairs.

The road has been dug up since work began on Friday night and motorists heading into town are being diverted down Cauldwell Hall Road and Spring Road – expected to cause chaos during morning and evening rush hours.

Ben Farmer, 41, of Cauldwell Avenue, said: “It is going to be a bit of a rat race here, which could be quite dangerous.

“It is not too bad driving in Ipswich but there are a lot of unnecessary roadworks, like the new traffic lights at Willis. Ipswich is the traffic light city. I work in Stowmarket and have to get through four lots of roadworks.”

Work continues to repair the collapsed sewer in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

Work continues to repair the collapsed sewer in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

Martyn Frost, 28, also of Cauldwell Avenue, warned the traffic could be “absolute murder” this week.

He said: “With the school run it will be a pain. It is annoying and adds to all the roadworks, but it can’t be helped.”

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The news follows growing concerns over the number of roadworks designed to improve traffic flow across Ipswich in recent months, such as the Norwich Road disruption.

A Woodbridge Road resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “I appreciate the work needs to be done and you can’t time emergency works, but with other closures it doesn’t make travelling in and out of Ipswich any easier.

“I think all the roadworks are putting people off going into town. I don’t go anymore unless I really have to because of the traffic.”

Mike Shah, 26, of Boston Road, said: “It is going to mess things around and be a bit of a nightmare. It is quite busy around Ipswich and there seems to be a lot of roadworks. I hope it will all be worthwhile.”

John Carey, 42, also of Boston Road, said: “It is hard enough to get round Ipswich at peak times and this will only add to it.”

The collapsed sewer was discovered on Fridays after engineers started investigating a dip in the road early last week. A two-way traffic light control caused tailbacks during busy periods.

Anglian Water say engineers will work 12 hours a day – from 7.30am to 7.30pm – to repair the sewer, but warned any unforeseen problems could extend the work into next week.

Last month, a stretch of Woodbridge Road East near the Lattice Barn pub was closed after a burst water main flooded and damaged the road, which was closed for six days.

Labour transport spokeswoman Sandra Gage blasted Suffolk County Council (SCC) for “poor communication” about the closure on Friday.

She said: “People stood in the cold for hours waiting for a bus, not realising they had been diverted. There was no information.”

Graham Newman, cabinet member for transport at SCC, said: “These are Anglian Water emergency sewerage works. They are not Suffolk County Council’s works, and they have nothing to do with Travel Ipswich.

“It is not always possible to notify every councillor in Ipswich of emergency work, although county councillors are notified of scheduled statutory undertakers’ works by our network management team.

“Certainly if I was a frontager in Woodbridge Road affected by a sewer collapse, I’d be wanting top priority applied to getting the work started at the earliest possible time, rather than being told I had to wait for a protracted notification period to elapse.

“The county council will, I’m sure, work with and advise the water company’s contractor in trying to minimise any inconvenience caused to motorists by these works.

“This maybe is an opportunity to warn all users of the Ipswich end of Woodbridge Road, that major works are planned for June – August this year, whilst an improvement scheme is built at the Major’s Corner/Mulberry Tree pub junction.”