Separating The Gossip From The Truth
Costing a predicted £100m to build, but with an anticipated £600m worth of economic and transport benefits for Ipswich, the three Upper Orwell Crossings are still dividing opinion. Here our editor Richard Stewart explains where the project is currently at.
The majority of Waterfront residents that I have spoken to are agreed….the area needs more river crossings; serving both vehicles & pedestrians. Whether your reasoning is traffic flow, personal convenience or any of the multitude of other talking points, the area feels disjointed. Add to this the issues caused to the area whenever the Orwell Bridge closes and surely additional, vehicular river crossings are a ‘no-brainer’?
The first round of consultation was launched on 1 July 2016 after Suffolk County Council received a provisional funding agreement of £77million from the Department for Transport for the Project; a Project which had, thus far, demonstrated how the proposed crossings would support investment, enterprise and regeneration in Ipswich, and would relieve congestion and improve connectivity for all road users.
The consultation aimed to raise awareness and inform businesses, residents and local communities about the project, its objectives and the planning process. It also aimed to provide the opportunity for people to have their say about the proposals.
743 people duly obliged, with 88% saying the most important aspect of the crossings was the reduction in congestion. 82% of people believed another important aspect of the project was the continued investment in Ipswich Waterfront. With regards to the impact of the crossings, 82% of people said the visual appearance and design quality of the crossings were important factors.
As importantly, Project managers are continuously at pains to clarify that full consideration will also be given to the locations of the crossing and the types of mitigation required to address traffic impacts.
The designs of the crossings are currently part of a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) competition to select an architectural team, with a decision to be announced in early 2017.
As Chair of the IWRA, I will ensure that lines of communication are kept fully open, throughout this entire process.