Transport boss, Graham Newman, says claims that major roadworks are causing traffic mayhem in Ipswich are “wildly exaggerated”

Heavy rush hour traffic in Star Lane, Ipswich. Photograph Simon Parker

Heavy rush hour traffic in Star Lane, Ipswich. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

A highways chief has said claims that major roadworks in Ipswich are causing traffic chaos are “wildly exaggerated” – and things will improve.

Suffolk County Council's Graham Newman

Suffolk County Council's Graham Newman - Credit: Archant

Suffolk County Council’s roads boss, Graham Newman, was responding to criticism of the multi-million pound Travel Ipswich project.

The scheme is meant to link the town’s traffic lights up via a new computer system and improve traffic flows but is now seven months overdue.

Mr Newman said the project had “lost four months” when decisions were made to temporarily halt parts of the projects, since it started in mid-2012, to improve congestion.

“Some of the claims are wildly exaggerated – that the town is permanently gridlocked – it’s complete nonsense,” he said.

“It’s a bit over done, the idea that I’m sort of in the countryside and never come to Ipswich – I suffer like everyone else.

“In the run-up to Christmas you should see some improvement, the roadworks in Bond Street will hopefully be finished before too long, that’s something that’s going to happen.”

He added that he understood why motorists were “extremely frustrated” when roadworks were in operation but no workforce were in the road.

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Last week Ipswich Borough Council leader, David Ellesmere, branded the project a “disaster”. He claimed the project had failed in its aim to make it easier to get around town. His views come at a time when retailers expect to see a rise in shopper numbers in the lead-up to Christmas.

Dozens of readers also posted angry comments on the Star’s website, giving their views on the transport project.

Mr Newman said the work was due to finish next summer – with an update on the project, which has been mainly funded through a £18million government grant, to be released later this week.

A dedicated lane for traffic going on to Woodbridge Road from St Helen’s Street, so traffic does not have to give way, is an important part of the project, he added.

He said systems would be in place to prioritise certain routes through town to ease congestion if there were accidents holding up traffic.

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