We are very much campaigning for a Northern Bypass. Many candidates at the general election are saying it but one candidate in particular seems to get it. Health (the increased air pollution) is the most worrying aspect about the “Ben Bridge“. In effect, a reverse-bypass.
Ipswich is plagued by congestion, and far too much of our residents’ lives is wasted sitting in traffic jams. Pollution from slow-moving vehicles is causing serious damage to our children’s health. And the situation becomes ten times worse whenever the Orwell Bridge has to be closed.
The answer has to be a new road north of Ipswich which will take traffic to the A14 without having to go into town and back out again. During normal times it will provide an alternative to Valley Rd and Colchester Road, and will enable local traffic to get from the east of our town to Whitehouse and to the A14 travelling west. When the Orwell Bridge is closed, the new northern road will take all the lorries that would have used the bridge, and it will not represent a significant increase in distance for the vast majority of lorries travelling to the Midlands.
Ben Gummer now claims he has always wanted both the major bridge over the docks and also the northern relief road. But when he made his proposal to the Department of Transport and it was accepted, it was for the three bridges over the Orwell, NOT for the northern route – a project cancelled by Ben Gummer’s father in the 1990’s. The Conservatives won’t tell us how much money the three bridges will cost. The two small bridges proposed to cross to the Island site are affordable, and would help the Island site to be developed. But the big bridge looks suspiciously like a vanity project – crossing straight over from one bank to the other in a huge arch – and will probably cost more than £100 million.
This big bridge will draw traffic away from the Orwell Bridge and will instead funnel it through residential streets leading towards the wet dock. The extra heavy traffic it will bring into the town will add to our congestion and pollution problems. The official business case for the scheme admits that roads around the bridge will see more than 1,000 extra vehicles an hour at peak times. The Tories still aren’t prepared to be open about where exactly the bridge will land on either side of the river, because they know the devastating effect it will have on property prices.
No money has been identified to build a Northern Bypass. If Labour candidate Sandy Martin is elected as your MP his very first action will be to speak to the Department of Transport to persuade them to transfer the money they have pledged for Ben Gummer’s unwelcome bridge to be spent on the northern route instead. The sooner we can drop this vanity project, the sooner we can get the northern route built. The more time and money that is wasted on finding out that this bridge will make life in Ipswich worse, the less likely it is that the northern route will be built.
Sandy Martin, Labour candidate, telling it how it is!