27 February 2013, 06:00
Ahead of a public consultation into the Ely Southern Bypass, Cambridgeshire County Council has produced a video "fly-through" of what it could look like.
The video below shows how the Council believes the Southern Bypass could look from a distance - and from a pedestrian and cyclists' point of view.
The £30.7m bypass to the south of Ely is designed to reduce congestion around Ely's station.
In a series of public exhibitions, residents will be able to see for themselves the likely impact the bypass will have through a digital fly-through video and drawings as well as speak to officers about the scheme.
The events form part of pre planning consultation ahead of a formal application being submitted later this year.
The County Council have told Heart the need for a solution to the congestion on the A142 has been known for many years. This has become more urgent since surveys in 2010 revealed the railway crossing was closed for up to 35 minutes every hour. The problem is likely to get worse as rail services using the line are expected to increase..
Along with relieving congestion at the level crossing, the proposed bypass will provide better access to the city centre, business areas and the railway station, as well as:
- Improve journey times between the A10 and Stuntney Causeway
- Reduce delays for motorists leaving the station peak times
- Increase opportunities for walking and cycling
- Improve the reliability of bus services
- Allow the area around the station to be improved
- Allow high-sided vehicles to avoid the area around the level crossing and underpass.
Residents and visitors to Ely will also benefit from a new walkway which will be constructed as part of the bridge providing views of the Cathedral and surrounding area. It will connect the Fen Rivers Way and Ouse Valley Way footpaths and improve links to the city centre.
In a statement to Heart, County Councillor Ian Bates told us: "The proposed southern bypass will be a huge benefit to the thriving market town of Ely, Cambridgeshire and the East as a whole.
As this is the only crossing point of both the railway and the River Great Ouse for several miles in either direction, traffic has no option but to cross the railway line at this spot.
The bypass should relieve this area of congestion, encourage growth and make Ely a more desirable place to live and work.
We hope people will come along to view the plans and let us know their thoughts."
Mr Bates added: "We do understand the bypass will have an impact on the landscape and historical setting of Ely and it's Cathedral.
However, this impact has been considered through the design of the new bypass and reduced where possible.
We have also researched a locally suggested alternative, known as the hidden bypass.
It would start from a new roundabout on Angel Drove, pass under the main railway line and cross King's School playing fields back onto the A142.
This would impact less on the landscape but our investigations determined it would not provide value for money or deliver the same benefits to the area as the bypass."
Councillor Peter Moakes, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council also said: "I was very excited to see how the plans for the bypass have developed.
It is a design which balances the need to tackle the congestion caused by the A142 and is sympathetic to fen landscape.
We know we have the support of majority of the public for a proposed bypass, the challenge now is to deliver the solution as soon as we can."
The public exhibitions:
It is estimated that the bypass will save more than two and a half times its cost over its lifetime through reduced congestion.
Funding from a number of sources is currently being considered.