Work on new Wet Dock crossing for Ipswich must begin now to meet 2021 deadline
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Members of the Ipswich Vision Group took time off before their meeting on Thursday to visit the site of the new multi-million-pound River Orwell crossing that was given the go-head in this year’s budget.
But the town’s MP Ben Gummer insisted the really hard work had to start right away if the project is to be completed by its 2021 deadline.
He said: “We are getting together to celebrate the announcement from the Chancellor. But that can only last a few minutes. We have a lot of work to do to get this up and running – and we have to start right away.”
The most significant obstacles to the new bridge could be getting permission to cross the Griffin Wharf rail siding and the river itself, which is navigable for vessels heading into the Wet Dock.
And the bridge itself will need to be built quite high to allow most vessels under it without it needing to open. That will mean it will become a landmark in the town.
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Mr Gummer said: “We need to ensure it is a beautiful bridge, one that will enhance the landscape of the town because it is going to become a feature of Ipswich for many generations.”
Members of the Ipswich Vision board have expressed their delight at the news.
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UCS Provost Richard Lister said: “This is great news for Ipswich. It will improve transport, relieve congestion and will provide the opportunity to link and connect the Waterfront with the town centre.”
Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, was in town for the Ipswich Vision meeting. He said: “This is an enormous success for our county town and a great step forward for our Ipswich Vision ambitions.
“It is thanks to the vision, hard work and campaigning that we have been rightly rewarded in the Chancellor’s budget.
“The Wet Dock Crossing will unlock even more enterprise and innovation at the Waterfront and boost jobs and future housing growth for the whole town.”
Three bridges will be built – a new footbridge over the lock gates, a new road bridge from Felaw St to the island site, and the major road bridge (which will open in the middle) linking Cliff Quay and the West Bank.