New traffic lights in Ipswich cost taxpayers almost £350,000

These traffic lights in Civic Drive cost �109,103

These traffic lights in Civic Drive cost �109,103 - Credit: Archant

The rash of new traffic lights that has gone up around Ipswich streets over the last five years has cost taxpayers nearly £350,000 according to a Freedom of Information request to Suffolk County Council.

More lights are still to be installed – and the figures do not include lights on roads which have been installed by developers at no cost to the council as part of a larger project.

The most expensive single set of lights are those installed at the junction of Civic Drive and Princes Street in 2013 to replace the roundabout and underpasses that had been there since the Greyfriars Centre was built in the 1960s.

The lights themselves cost £109,103 – although that figure was dwarfed by the cost of the eight-month programme of removing the roundabout and replacing it with a light-controlled junction.

The sets of lights at Fore Hamlet, Duke Street and Pownall Road, along with the junction at Back Hamlet and Grove Lane cost a total of £109,246 – but again this does not include the cost of remodelling the road layout.

A total of 16 new sets of traffic lights, either controlling junctions or creating new pedestrian crossings, have been installed in Ipswich since 2010 or are planned by the start of next year. Of these, 11 council-funded schemes cost £345,573. The cost of the new lights in Norwich Road near Westwood Court has still to be calculated. There are also four schemes that have been funded by developers.

Many of these lights have been installed as part of the £21 million Travel Ipswich programme which has been criticised by many drivers and businesses for regularly bringing the town to a standstill.

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Suffolk County Council cabinet member for roads and transport Graham Newman said some were replacements for existing lights to allow them to be linked to co-ordinated systems.

He said: “As part of our work to improve the transport and roads in Ipswich, it has been absolutely vital that we included the upgrading of old and obsolete traffic management systems across the town.

“These systems are many years old and traffic lights require upgrading to ensure they can be brought into a synchronised system to improve flow.

“These upgrades will ensure the lights will require less routine maintenance going forward, as well as allowing the urban traffic management control system which can be managed in real-time, as incidents arise to adapt to suit patterns across the town.”