Travel Ipswich finally nears completion as last traffic lights are installed

Work is continuing between Major's Corner and St Margaret's Plain.

Work is continuing between Major's Corner and St Margaret's Plain. - Credit: Archant

After years of work around the town and months of frustration in the Major’s Corner/St Margaret’s Plain area, traffic should finally start flowing again around Ipswich town centre next week.

Frustrated motorists who have suffered months of delays as work has continued can at last look forward to the end of temporary lights in that area.

Work has been completed at Major’s Corner outside the Regent Theatre – and the related roadworks between the former Odeon and St Margaret’s Green is due to be finished tonight.

That will leave only the reconstruction of Princes Street/Queen Street in the town centre to be completed to mark the completion of the original Travel Ipswich proposal.

According to the county council’s website Travel Ipswich is already finished, but the work at Major’s Corner and in the Princes Street/Queen Street area was always included in the original scheme and only dropped when it over-ran.

The work on the north-eastern side of the town centre has caused major disruption for months, but the roadworks were cleared around Major’s Corner last week and the last new traffic lights are about to be fixed in position.

That should allow traffic to flow better – with the new traffic lights linked up to a computer system to allow traffic to travel in “convoys” around the town.

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The last set of traffic lights for the St Margaret’s Plain area is to be fixed in place early next week and should be switched on by next Friday at the latest – if engineers complete the work earlier they could be working before then.

James Finch, cabinet member for transport said: “The roadworks between Major’s Corner and Bolton Lane are scheduled for completion by the middle of August.

“This is an important development in a key location that will ultimately improve the roads for the safety of both drivers and pedestrians. I want to thank people for their patience and understanding whilst we complete this vital work.

“For east bound traffic it is the final link to ease traffic flow across from Crown Street to Woodbridge Road and it completes the west bound route through St Helens from Spring Road.

“More significantly it is a significant step forward for the Ipswich traffic management and control system, completing the upgrading of signal equipment in this part of the network.”

Opposition transport spokeswoman Sandra Gage said she would reserve judgement on the success of the work until she had seen how well it was working.

She said: “Travel Ipswich has caused massive disruption around the town and now we shall see whether it was all worth £21m. I’m still concerned that things will not be much better than they were before this all started.”

Meanwhile the bottom of Foundation Street – between Star Lane and Key Street – will not re-open once work to convert St Mary at the Quay church into a wellbeing centre is completed within the next few weeks.

The road was shut from early last year, and traffic has been using an alternative cut-through beside the Premier Inn. Now the decision has been taken to retain that to allow the bottom of Foundation Street to be a pedestrian route from the town to the Waterfront.