The Upper Orwell Crossings a bridge too far?

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  • #3466 Score: 0
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    From Ipswich Society newsletter Ipswich Society April 2017 (issue 207):-

    Clever politicians throw their weight behind projects that are likely to succeed and avoid those that will be a long time coming. Thus we can guess that the proposals to build additional bridges over the Orwell and the New Cut are likely to happen sooner rather than later.

    However the rationale for the biggest of these bridges is debatable and the methodology used to establish a need questionable.  Certainly, by using the calculations employed in northern Europe a different outcome would be likely (but then Holland and Denmark understand the value of sustainable transport).

    In March 2016 Suffolk County Council received provisional funding of approximately 77 million pounds from the Department for Transport for the Upper Orwell Crossings project.  This enabled a feasibility study and the initial design to be instigated.

    […]

    The rationale behind the bid (for funding) was to open up land for development thus creating the potential for more jobs.  Relieving traffic on Star Lane and College Street was a secondary consideration, but this was the key rationale picked up by the public during the consultation.  Our initial investigations indicate that it will not reduce vehicles on the existing Star Lane / College Street gyratory to the extent imagined by some correspondents.  In fact we know that new roads bring additional vehicles, additional distances travelled by existing road users and, after a short honeymoon, more congestion.

    We do, of course, welcome the opportunity to develop underused land close to the river south of the wet dock and the use of the Island as a technology centre connected to the University.

    John Norman

    To view full article and indeed the entire newsletter… The Upper Orwell Crossings: a bridge too far?

    It was good to read the Ipswich Society doubting the bridge – both in reduction of traffic/congestion (which they feel will increase with a new road) and rationale – however, they don’t seem to be against the bridge overall and seem sold on the concept of it unlocking land for the university which will create jobs (rather than criticising the short-mindedness of establishing the university (or UCS at the time) so it is immediately landlocked by the time it became established) – rather than creating a new campus elsewhere in the town.

    Star Lane gyratory is planned to be remodelled (traffic directed over the bridge instead) – something Ipswich Society is in favour of – and I am surprised the Ipswich Society investigation didn’t uncover the 10% A14 traffic reduction TEN-T which was included in the Secretary of State order for NSIP status to allow the project to happen. Surely the Ipswich Society should be concerned not only a new bridge will increase traffic but will be used to bring traffic into the town for destinations outside?

    #3472 Score: 0
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    October 2016 newsletter article….

    Orwell Crossings. A business plan and a proposal for three crossings of the Upper Orwell has been allocated £85 million in the Government’s infrastructure list and Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet has allocated £10 million to carry forward the planning stages. Details of the connecting roads, how high the bridge is from around the Cobbold Brewery to Bath Street and of the vehicle bridge across New Cut are all sparse . It seems curious to us that ABP have agreed to pedestrians and cyclists crossing the lock when we fought a Rights of Way case a few years ago at which their QC persuaded the Planning Inspector that it was not possible. It is unlikely it will have as beneficial an effect on traffic in the Star Lane gyratory as their advisers say. We shall see. Perhaps it needs Brussels funding.

    I am sure it is obvious because the land ownership would change? However, a very valid point raised.

    #3474 Score: 0
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    does this from last week;

    need this, that’s my concern, and from what I’ve seen and read so far no one has the faintest idea.!!!

    I'm really quite cross now, so watch out!

    #3479 Score: 0
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    The landmark bridge most certainly be higher and better than the originally planned bridge (except the absence of an ability to open/lift/swing to let unlimited height ships and yachts through). The two-birds-with-one-stone having the pedestrian deck carried on the main bridge limits clearance… and without a matter of a doubt even without this obstruction there is no way those tall ships will pass under the new bridge. The clue is in the name!

    It is currently an ongoing issue with the Orwell Bridge (and pretty much bridges in general) – not all will fit under – you could simply take the sails down but not exactly ideal. The pedestrian/cyclist bridge (secondary) is the biggest concern due to access.

    Marina Access Height

    You see the top curve the main bridge taking road traffic. Below this is the pedestrian/cyclist one. This slopes down leaving a height of the first red line – it is higher elsewhere but irrelevant. Except the sloping of the secondary bridge lowers this further – the second red line. This (with a few tweaks – such as with the scale of boats nearby) will allow large yachts to pass – just about when the water level is low enough – if you have sails… no chance. aerials, domes etc.? no chance. War ships? no chance. Tall ships? It won’t clear the middle point of primary traffic bridge (without secondary)…

    It does look nice though. Won’t help traffic problems or the Ipswich Waterfront.

    Unfortunately, winning the contract is the main aim. Fitting the need will be tricky, and when it becomes impossible that is when the design changes completely. This could be the secondary bridge part which connects to the island lifting or rotating; the secondary deck disappearing completely with a modest bridge replacement at that part or a hockey-stick (?) shaped bridge that bends parallel with the road to avoid restricting access to the marinas – not only uglier will create a pinch point on the bridge slowing down traffic. Fosters won’t get red-faced – the politicians will severely compromise. Early indications (for me personally) is the main primary bridge, no secondary deck… the other crossing as planned and a modest additional bridge of similar style around the other side which will allow in the yachts and boats. If budgets are that stretched I could see just the main bridge and the Stoke Quay pedestrian bridge going ahead.

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    I’m a student currently doing a project about the architecture and urban design of Ipswich so I do a fair bit of  3d model making. I created a quick model of the bridge in SketchUp. I guessed the measurements and based it on the photos, it has the correct number of support pillars from what I could see. I suspect I made it slightly taller as the gradient looks greater than in the renders, however, a medium sized sailing yacht would not be able to sail through. I also created a fly-through animation of the model. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5xNHrkvkcg

     The measurements for the tallest span in the model for reference are:
    Road bridge: 20m
    Pedestrian bridge: 15m
    Sailing yacht (to scale): 22m

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    Good work, I think your conclusions are sadly correct….

    I'm really quite cross now, so watch out!

    #3546 Score: 0
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    Hi Jordan.

    Thank you for joining IPSWI. The 3D Model of the Upper Orwell Crossings you have made is amazing! I am very impressed.

    It is easy for me to say that the bridge would be restrictive to yachts and draw a couple of ultra-basic red lines on the artist impression mockup image… but your model really puts it into perspective.

    It seems the architects have their work cut out in trying to make this project work. I think the Ipswich Waterfront will lose its appeal without the yachts in the marinas and the tall ships that come here from time to time.

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    An interesting topic on YBW (Yacht Boat World?) about the Upper Orwell Crossings. Some quotes from that topic (recommended you read through at the above link).

    There is still no information on where and exactly what the new crossing at location A will be. That’s the one that could block access to the marinas in Ipswich. However there is a strong lobby to raise the height of the planned crossing to 20-25 metres which would mean most of us wouldn’t have to call for a bridge opening.

    It looks to me as if the budget will not be nearly enough to allow Crossing “A” to be at a height that would allow mast up transit.

    For reference, the Orwell Bridge has an air draft of 43 metres. Whilst the “A” bridge would be much lower at 20-25 metres, the ramps for it would take a lot of quite expensive urban land, as opposed to the farmland that was taken for the Orwell Bridge.

    15 metres at MHWS would allow almost all mast up traffic through without opening the bridge

    1m short for my HR34.

    When I last looked at the Wet Dock it contained the brig “Stavros Niarchos”, three Thames barges and quite a few yachts with biggish masts.

    Northern Bypass… even on a boating forum…

    After the chaos today when Highways England closed the Orwell Bridge for 12 hours because of “high wind”, most people will surely be demanding that money is spent on a Northern By-pass rather than fiddling about with the docks area. A few people might also be interested to hear how Highways England decided that the wind was 80mph, when there was nothing like that that at Felixstowe.

    #3564 Score: 1
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    Well, I had a spare day, so I created a video of the Upper Orwell Crossings. The last one I posted took 15 minutes. I tried to evaluate the impact, height, and possible route of the bridge. It may not represent much but it was interesting to see that the traffic flow animation, proposals and architectural renders do not seen to match up. I’m not trying to play architect (although fittingly that is what I ll studying soon), I really would have thought more details, particularly the route, would have been given. Nevertheless it was fun…ish to make.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJQ12nLBPV8

    *Note, sorry about the clickbait thumbnail, I couldn’t resist.

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    #3565 Score: 0
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    Our Objections to the Upper Orwell Crossings are as follows.

    Vanity Project

    The Upper Orwell Crossing landmark bridge by top architects rather than a more simple functional bridge which opens is nothing more than a vanity project for Ben Gummer resurrecting the long-proposed Wet Dock Crossing – originally intended to be paid for by private developers in the area. Major focus is on creating “Enterprise Island” which is a desperate plan b on creating sustainability for the University of Suffolk. The bridge will increase traffic in the area and the bridge doesn’t support any new developments to the south of Ipswich – rather non-existent.

    Narrow-minded people decided to establish UCS on two small sites on the Ipswich Waterfront (Waterfront Building and James Hehir Building) – completely landlocked and not expandable in that location. Yes, the area can be picturesque. The lack of zoning for Suffolk’s long awaited university will result in slow growth and a large number of small campuses. They should have allocated adequate room… Northern Fringe or Sproughton Sugar beet factory site for instance. Northern Fringe would have been ideal as it can remain land until they needed to expand. Port of Felixstowe’s success is solely down to Trinity College owning the entire area. The nearest other university to us, University of Essex in Colchester (well Hythe, outside Colchester) had been zoned so it had room to grow.

    So this vanity project is being utilised to land grab the island site for the university. Again, if the site ever is fully developed its back to the drawing board again, where to expand to next? It will need to be a new campus which opens up transport and logistical nightmares. They tried to annex Ipswich Museum with an almost criminal Heritage Lottery Funding bid under the banned Ipswich Arts and Museums, as High Street Campus with emphasis on arts etc. with its own cafe… the lottery people saw right through it… not too difficult when doing basic due diligence on the trustees. The I-AM Trust got dissolved after this – they had no intention of improving the museum for the people of Ipswich and tourists. Disgusting.

    Air Pollution and Noise Pollution

    The bridge will be noisy especially for the Ipswich Waterfront. Wind direction and vehicle pollution is a grave concern especially over a body of cold (or cool) water. The pedestrian deck (secondary bridge) will increase the pollution members of the public breathe in – which wouldn’t be so bad if they walked quayside in the Ipswich Waterfront.

    Marina Access/Ipswich Waterfront future

    The dutch can simply choose to sail from elsewhere if access makes it impossible for their tall ships to reach here. Sadly, it is a big loss for Ipswich. The maritime festival only being held every 2-years now hints the decline in our sailing heritage.

    We aren’t keen on the Ipswich Waterfront focus but it is dead in the water without the yachts. The smaller yachts can clear 15m without problems, many of the medium sized yachts could struggle with the pedestrian bridge.

    Star Lane gyratory replacement

    We strongly believe the Upper Orwell Crossing bridge is a direct replacement for non-bus and non-taxi west to east travel, with Star Lane being a bus lane that only allows buses, coaches, taxis and cyclists access. Star Lane gyratory is to be remodelled – Ipswich Borough Council are currently advertising for a consultant to look at Public Realm and radial routes for the town and waterfront. Probable that they will keep Fore Street for buses heading towards town.

    Northern Bypass is greater needed

    We have been needing a Northern Bypass for decades. Now with the Northern Fringe, Adastral Park development, the growing out-of-town retail to the East and North West of Ipswich, housing developments around Stowmarket and Woodbridge areas and increase in Orwell Bridge closures and delays.. we need the Ipswich Orbital.

    Despite significant planned growth to the north of the town (ongoing for decades, not new development ideas) and pressure on the A14 and A12 corridors either side of the town, it hasn’t been put on the agenda.

    All Ipswich Waterfront flat developments don’t need the bridge to support it.

    Dishonest Business Case and Traffic Survey

    The economic benefits is pie-in-the-sky and the traffic model projections are made up. They don’t even know where the bridge will terminate and whether the installation of an roundabout or traffic lights will serve either side of the bridge. Without these two key pieces of information it is impossible to predict through computer modelling how the traffic will function in peak times. Furthermore, with Star Lane gyratory remodelling/replacement, this changes the entire dynamics. If only buses and taxis can get through Star Lane all traffic will have to go to the bridge. They don’t even know what speed the bridge will be or how to land the bridge at this moment in time.

    If Ben Gummer can get these favours, think what else he could be doing for the town.

    10% A14 traffic reduction (Ten-T)

    The Upper Orwell Crossings only got funding for the purpose of reducing 10% of A14 traffic… instead of upgrading the road to the UK’s biggest container port (surely should be a motorway) not only is freight taking over the single-track rail line but the container traffic is being sent through Ipswich. When the Orwell Bridge is closed the town crawls to a halt. In future traffic will be routed through Ipswich even if the bridge isn’t closed – such as slow moving traffic etc.

    #3603 Score: 0
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    I have become fascinated by this bridge so I created the road deck, copying the renders as closely as possible. I made it straight (awkward to model curving inclines) following the suggested route – Toller Road/ Holywells Road to Virginia Street. I didnt model the pedestrian deck, but I made the pillars or ‘branching arms’ with a height of 15m at the apex.
    If the Road deck was going to be 20m high (minimum), the bridge would have to be rougly 520 metres long, end to end just to to keep the gradient just below 8%. Surely this would effect heavy goods vehicles which it is meant to carry.

    Also, unless the bridge links up to Clifflane, this route will extremely awkward to turn right, heading east out of Ipswich, the route that this bridge is meant to serve, surely this would also add a set of traffic lights, off centred to Cliff Lane, bringing the area to gridlock  Finally, I’m not sure how it will link up to the roundabout on Virginia Street either.

    You can download the KMZ file that will open this model in Google Earth, without the need for Sketchup. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=87ae13d4-16b2-403a-b62a-233f61a0956b&uploadsuccess=1 

    I cant see any benefit this bridge will bring, it will make the traffic on Nacton Road, Landseer Road, Holywells Road and Duke street much worse. I already spend 30 minutes a day stuck in this traffic.

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    #3605 Score: 0
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    what seems quite scary to me is here we are, regular folks, having a go with models and lines on plans, and we can’t make this damned thing work! So surely the designers with all their resources have either solved these issues already, in which  case, why not help us all out, put our minds at rest, with a bit more detail in the presentations.  But if they’ve not got this far the frankly Mr Gummer, SCC, etc etc. have been sold a pup as it’s simply not going to work without some serious compromise to the Waterfront…. and millions of £s have already been chucked at this… which could have gone towards solving our real traffic problems…

    this was my line from what I could tell from the various presentations.. avoiding all the houses…!

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Profile photo of Mart Mart.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Profile photo of Mart Mart.

    I'm really quite cross now, so watch out!

    #3610 Score: 0
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    Ipswich Mast Height Memo

    Conclusion
    It would appear that the Orwell Bridge is the current main constraint on vessel heights using the Port
    of Ipswich. The majority of cargo vessels are believed to moor downstream of the proposed bridge
    location, leaving sailing yachts as the majority of vessels upstream.

    Spirit Yachts, based at Ipswich Haven Marina, are known to have sailed large vessels from their base
    with the masts down because they are higher than the Orwell Bridge, therefore the constraint should
    be considered to relate to smaller yachts based at the marinas or visiting.

    If 20m was taken to be the maximum length at the marinas (which would need to be confirmed – the
    marina website alludes to the potential for longer yachts), a mast height of approximately 32m might
    be assumed. However, this would require a safety margin applying to count for differences in mast
    height datum, and for any additional mast head equipment such as aerials.

    It should be noted that the datum used for mast height in this data set varies – in some cases it is
    above deck height, some above water level, some as overall air draught, and in some cases no
    datum is given, therefore a margin of error should be applied. This plot is also based on a small data
    set (28 vessels). ABP and the marinas may be able to provide data on visiting vessels.
    However, it would appear that the maximum height is unlikely to be significantly less than the current
    Orwell Bridge constraint.

    Design guidance such as that issued by PIANC (Harbour Approach Channels – Design Guidelines)
    should also be consulted.

    References

    UKHO Chart 2693 – Approaches to Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich with the Rivers Stour, Orwell
    and Deben. 15th Edition, August 2014, NM 2015.
    UKHO NP28 8th Edition (2008) – Admiralty Sailing Directions – Dover Strait Pilot
    Data relating to marinas and yacht geometries have been obtained from appropriate websites.

    Mast heights anticipated up to 32m.

    #3613 Score: 0
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    Wet Dock Crossing Business Case

    Post Travel Ipswich…

    4.4.5 The traffic congestion in the town centre and surrounding roads will get worse.
    – Journey times will increase deterring people from driving into Ipswich for work and shopping
    – Buses will also take longer to drive into Ipswich, making them less attractive and more costly
    – Noise and air quality around the queuing traffic will deteriorate. The health of residents in
    Ipswich will suffer and this will add further cost to the public purse

    MEASURES FOR SUCCESS

    4.8.1 Successful delivery of the objectives would:
    – Provide an additional 1,000 new homes in the town centre until 2031 along with 50
    construction jobs per year
    – Provide an additional 800 higher value jobs in Ipswich until 2031 and a reduction in
    worklessness
    – Stimulate an additional 50 new start-up companies being registered until 2031
    – Enable Enterprise Island (upskilling and higher productivity)
    – Enable Star Lane Public Realm improvements
    – Generate an additional £3 million in council tax
    – Increase GVA by £100,000,000 a year
    – Increase Income tax by £10,000,000 a year
    – Increase Business Rates by £500,000 a year
    – Stimulate a 10% uplift in tourism day visits and generate an extra £20 million per year for the
    local economy

    Option B Bridge

    Option B has a bridge to the south of the island to connect the two banks, a smaller
    all-modes bridge between the west bank and the island, and a pedestrian and cycle
    bridge across the lock. It has many advantages over Option A:
    – The southern bridge can rise above the river level so that it is high enough, when going over
    the navigation channel into the Wet Dock, so that most vessels can pass underneath the
    unopened bridge. The opening section of the bridge would only need to open for the taller
    vessels, and these could be grouped together and sent through in a platoon. The bridge
    opening could be constrained to outside of peak periods and to be relatively infrequent.
    – The southern bridge is completely independent and unaffected by the free flow situation in the
    lock. Vessels proceeding through the lock at speed under free flow would have plenty of time
    to reduce their speed and wait safely for the southern bridge to open.
    – Because the southern bridge provides an east west crossing away from the island site, the
    additional bridge, required to serve the Island site, can be designed to complement Enterprise
    Island. This bridge can be smaller and reduce the amount of developable land used for
    access, maximising the potential development of the Island site.
    – The southern bridge can rise above the railway line on the west bank so that the railway line
    to the Port can continue to operate unaffected.
    Option B does have some inherent issues:
    A. Although many vessels will be able to pass under the unopened bridge, there will be
    occasional delays for traffic while taller ships access the Wet Dock.
    As the southern bridge rises above the river, it will be viewable from further away. Architectural
    and sympathetic design can turn this into a desirable consequence, resulting in a focal point for
    the Regeneration.
    The gradient of the road on the bridge is a balance between creating enough height to allow the
    majority of vessels under the bridge unimpeded, whist being sympathetic to the road users.

    JOURNEY TIME SAVINGS

    5.3.3 The following assumptions have been used to calculate journey time savings of £278
    million for Option A and £373.5 million for Option B.
    5.3.4 Scheme benefits have been assessed using the DfT’s TUBA (Transport Users
    Benefit Appraisal) software. This is an industry-standard tool for undertaking
    economic appraisal in accordance with guidelines published in WebTAG Unit A1
    5.3.5 The latest version of TUBA (v1.9.5) was used with parameters published in WebTAG
    Unit A1.
    5.3.6 Scheme appraisal has been undertaken for a 60-year period, from the assumed
    scheme opening in 2021.
    5.3.7 Three growth scenarios have been modelled, the core scenario, the low and high
    growth scenarios.

    Work Car Driver: 27.06 £/hr
    Work PSV passenger: 16.63 £/hr
    Non-work commuting: 6.81 £/hr

    Economic Benefits

    Overall Summary – Year

    GVA Uplift on jobs directly and indirectly generated £66,547,197
    Income Tax Revenue £10,665,255
    JSA Payment Savings £3,532,795
    Corporation Tax Revenue £3,194,265
    Business Rates £565,828
    GVA uplift to existing jobs in the Regeneration area £121,632,122
    TOTAL YEARLY BENEFITS £188,179,319

    Overall Summary – discounted to 2015 values (60 year appraisal from 2021)

    GVA Uplift on jobs directly and indirectly generated £3,295,603,625
    Income Tax Revenue £299,853,913
    JSA Payment Savings £99,324,637
    Corporation Tax Revenue £158,188,974
    Business Rates £14,680,255
    GVA uplift to existing jobs in the Regeneration area £3,155,713,070
    TOTAL DISCOUNTED BENEFITS £6,451,316,695

    UPFRONT COSTS

    Bridge(s) – structure £42,589,495
    Bridge(s) – aesthetic extra over £2,129,475
    Design Fee £5,000,000
    Immediate junctions £2,982,700
    Land Purchase Cost £21,022,263
    Land Compensation Cost £1,300,000
    Environmental mitigation £663,200
    Total Upfront Costs £75,687,132

    Some very good observations. High tech and biotech jobs at Enterprise Island is going to save £3.5 million pounds of unemployment benefit. Really? Unlikely! Architect seems to be getting a £5m fee. £22.3m has been assigned for buying land. £3m assigned for junctions.

    It cost £110k for the Civic Drive/Princes Street traffic lights. I don’t think £3m will cover it.

    #3615 Score: 0
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    I still cannot see where it will connect up to. Are they going through the industrial areas? Millions have been set aside for buying land, this isn’t for Enterprise Island, just for the bridges.

    #3721 Score: 0
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    Going back to a topic on the Yacht and Boating World YBW forum on the Upper Orwell Crossing Ipswich

    That’ll be the end of barges in the wet dock then – unless they fancy striking the top mast every time.

    ~

    An obs like this wouldnt happen in The Netherlands would it, even the low bridge on the eastern end of the Hollanesdeip has an alternative way into The Biesbosch

    ~

    Wouldn’t even get my HR34 under there at HW. Why 20m for the road when 15m will be limit.

    ~

    Typical bunch of self obsessed public proflie tyoes who don’t look at the world. That will be the end of visiting Ipswich for us

    ~

    It would be interesting to see a plan for the road infrastructure to support the road bridge. I can’t see an ideal routing looking at google maps. Is this bridge to provide an alternative to the A14 Orwell Bridge?

    ~

    I can’t believe they are going to set it that low, it would discourage a heck of a lot of visitors. I trust that all the local businesses that would be impacted will be on the case, plus the RYA and the CA. Ironic that the photo is taken with yachts in the backgound.

    ~

    Isn’t that height going to preclude access to most of the boats behind them in that top photo?

    ~

    We’re a roughly 11.5m boat with a 16.5m air draft, not exceptional, so 15m is going to be too restrictive for anything above about 34-35ft in length. How will Spirit Yachts function? This doesn’t seem to make any sense at all.

    ~

    Everything is speculation at the moment and will in any case require an Act of Parliament but they appear to be easily obtained by monied people and organisations including Ben Gummers company’s. It also takes attention away from a Northern Bypass through the Gummers land.

    ~

    Spirit Yachts man is on the advisory board. SCC have announced they are against this scheme but their team and CEO are posing beside Gummer in the photo taken from Orwell Quay in the wet dock.

    ~

    This is the brainless approach of letting form override function. Once you spend the money to get the road deck up high, the extra cost of putting the footbridge up there with it would be next to nothing. I doubt the footbridge will be much used anyway, pedestrians should be allowed to walk across the lock gates with a traffic light system and so avoid the climb. The bridge could then be vehicle only.

    It is a major concern if the lowest point will only allow 15m clearance. Does anyone know if SCC are going to do anymore consultation sessions?

     

    #3795 Score: 0
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    I just found this SCC map of the route of a Upper Orwell Crossing…

    Upper Orwell Crossings Path

    It appears to me the bridge goes through the industrial estate part (self-storage), curves and cuts through part of the Ipswich Dock West Bank, across the River Orwell rather straight, cuts through Ship launch and curves just north of Toller Road.

    #3797 Score: 0
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    good find, almost exactly the line I worked out… 🙂

    I'm really quite cross now, so watch out!

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