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1 October 2013, 13:33
Cambridgeshire County Council's plans to tackle congestion to the south of Ely and around the railway station have now been submitted.
Along with relieving congestion at the level crossing, it's hoped the £30 million 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 at 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.
However, there are concerns surrounding the potential impact on the environment that building the road would have.
In particular, some people are worried about the impact the proposed bypass would have on views of Ely Cathedral.
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.
The plans were brought together following extensive public consultation during the early part of this year, which involved exhibitions, a digital fly-through video and numerous drawings.
Following this work there have been no substantial changes made to the scheme, however officers received a number of innovative suggestions to improve cycling infrastructure which are now to be developed through separate plans.
County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet member for Growth and Planning 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.
We also know the problem is likely to get worse as rail services using the line increase.
We have worked incredibly hard to develop plans which minimise the impact on the landscape and historical setting of Ely and it's Cathedral.
We have striven through the designs process to create a scheme which is an asset to the area.
I know well that there are a small number of people who oppose our plans but I also know there is a significant majority who want us to get on and build this road now."
Councillor James Palmer, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, told Heart: "Building the Ely Southern Bypass will bring real benefits to the city, East Cambridgeshire and the region.
The new road will not just take traffic out of the city - it will allow us to redevelop the station gateway area turning it into a huge asset for the District.
While we also know some people are worried about cost, the whole project must be seen in context for it is estimated that the bypass will save more than two and a half times its cost over its lifetime through reduced congestion.
People often tell me they want the road built now, well I think we are making real progress to make these plans finally a reality."
The planning process is likely to take 13 weeks with the application likely to be considered by Planning Committee this winter.