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Northern bypass proposal to be published 'within two or three weeks'

PUBLISHED: 07:30 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:58 31 January 2019

Lower Road,Westerfield was opne of the potential routes for a northern relief road. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lower Road,Westerfield was opne of the potential routes for a northern relief road. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

More details for a northern relief road in Ipswich is set to be published within the next three weeks, Suffolk County Council's leader has confirmed.

Council leader Matthew Hicks confirmed the northern relief road business case was imminent within the next two or three weeks. Picture: GREGG BROWNCouncil leader Matthew Hicks confirmed the northern relief road business case was imminent within the next two or three weeks. Picture: GREGG BROWN

In April last year then-county council leader Colin Noble confirmed work had begun on establishing a business case for a northern bypass, which would provide a justification for the government to help fund the scheme.

Further information was originally supposed to be published by the end of 2018, but was delayed for reasons that were not disclosed.

Speaking during Tuesday’s county council cabinet meeting, council leader Matthew Hicks confirmed a report would be on the table in the next two or three weeks.

“It’s a totally separate cabinet decision [to the Upper Orwell Crossings],” Mr Hicks said.

Possible routes for the northern route. Picture: ARCHANTPossible routes for the northern route. Picture: ARCHANT

“I hope we will be able to release information in two to three weeks from now.”

In a statement following the meeting he added: “Suffolk County Council is fully supportive of the principle of a northern relief route for Ipswich.

“I have been working with Councillor Paul West as cabinet member for Ipswich, along with our district and borough colleagues to move this forward, as it will require significant co-operation from many stakeholders to deliver.

“As stated previously I will be providing more information on the next steps in February.”

Labour group leader Sarah Adams called for political differences to be put aside in developing the northern route. Picture: GREGG BROWNLabour group leader Sarah Adams called for political differences to be put aside in developing the northern route. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A northern route is widely regarded to be the best solution to traffic problems in Ipswich – particularly during Orwell Bridge closures – and has been discussed in one form or another for around three decades.

A definitive route has not yet been drawn up but would likely connect the A14 somewhere between Claydon and Needham Market with the A12 either at Martlesham or Seckford.

However, villages to the north of Ipswich feature more opposition, as development would impact on rural communities and undeveloped land.

Questions also remain over capacity at junctions such as the A12 at Martlesham, which is already busy for motorists at peak times.

Councillor Sarah Adams, leader of the county council’s Labour group, said that the confirmation that the main bridge for the Upper Orwell Crossings scheme was no longer an option meant that work needed to press on with a northern bypass case.

“I’m delighted to hear that the business case for the northern bypass will be published within the next fortnight,” she said.

“It is disappointing that it was delayed in the first place, without any sort of proper explanation, but I am sure that Suffolk’s residents and businesses will welcome the fact that action is finally being taken.

“Let’s hope Cllr Hicks sticks to his promise on this occasion as far too much time has been wasted already.

“It is vital that council leaders and MPs of all political colours now come together, put their differences aside and help deliver the project that our county has been demanding for decades.”

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