Two years of road chaos on the way?

I REALLY like the look of the artist’s impression of the new junction between Princes Street and Civic Drive.

It will make it much easier and more pleasant to walk between the town centre, Cardinal Park and the railway station.

Ipswich Fit for the 21st Century really should make a massive difference to the town centre – and I am delighted that the government saw fit to give it the green light.

However there is no way of escaping from the fact that while the work is being done driving around the town centre is likely to be a complete nightmare.

The Civic Drive/Princes Street roundabout is certainly one of the ugliest junctions in the town and for 40 years has been a testimony to brutal 1960s urban planning.

But it is also one of the busiest, and converting it into a traffic light junction will cause chaos.

The work at Duke Street has transformed a dreadful roundabout into a junction that works very well for most motorists, but while work was underway motorists really suffered.

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That will happen again, with knobs on, when work starts on Civic Drive.

And the obvious alternative will not be available either – work is due to start next year which is the same time that work is likely to start on the new Tesco at Grafton Way, meaning that road could also be somewhere for drivers to avoid.

Ipswich Fit for the 21st Century is due to be completed by 2014. I suspect that between now and then we will have dozens of stories of frustrated motorists and hundreds of letters from people saying the roads should be left as they are.

That would be the wrong move. The town needs to adapt if it really wants to embrace the challenges of the next few decades and this scheme is a good start.

But while the work is underway, driving around the town centre will not be pleasant. Maybe I’ll be encouraged to get out my bike more often or even walk in to work!