Here we go again, a new year and another long list of road closures in Ipswich, to deliver the scheme that is promised to solve the town’s gridlock, but has, itself created havoc for years, been by Graham Newman’s own admission ‘a PR disaster’ and with no end in sight.
Today’s announcement from Suffolk County Council suggests this is the ‘last phase’. If that is the case whatever happened to the Woodbridge Road/Argyle Street junction new signals, or the rail station forecourt bus stops redesign, or the Queens Street pedestrianisation? All previously announced by the County Council as essential to the success of TravelIpswich, and now all, it would seem not part of the last phase. Assuming these are still going ahead, clearly today’s announcement is not for the ‘final’ but rather yet another phase of probably at least a year of works.
The Labour Spokesperson for Roads and Transport Cllr Sandra Gage said; “Suffolk County Council has yet to convince Ipswich residents that TravelIpswich is going to have been worth three years of traffic chaos. I think residents have been extremely patient, given the junctions that have been altered still do not seem to deliver improvements. For example Princes Street/Grafton Way junction, the change-over times between phases are already making the traffic move less freely, not more. And the pedestrian phases at a number of junctions are too short, such as at Valley Road/Henley Road junction where residents have raised concerns.”
Ipswich Labour Councillors feel that this announcement may sound positive, but it’s simply notice to Ipswich of up to a further 20 weeks of road closures and diversions on some of our busiest roads. Yet again, there has been no advance warning to residents or local councillors where works are going to be most disruptive. And there remain questions still to be answered on important parts of the scheme that now appear to have been dropped.
Cllr Gage continues; “Rather than sneaking this announcement out whilst most people are away, perhaps the County Council should offer a full explanation if what the actual timescale is on all incomplete promised parts of TravelIpswich and where we are on what I believe is an almost spent budget. It seems to me, Suffolk County Council has run this project financially clueless, minimal project planning, and with no regard to Ipswich residents, who have had to live with years of traffic chaos.”
The Ipswich Star article can be found by clicking here