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16 January 2017, 12:43 | Updated: 16 January 2017, 12:45
A study into the need for relief road to the north of Ipswich is today being published by Suffolk County Council.
The study, which includes three initial route corridors, is being released as part of the Council's short, medium and long term plans to improves transport in the wider Ipswich area to address existing congestion and to accommodate future planned growth in and around the town.
The first stage of the northern routes study has considered the transport conditions across the wider Ipswich area both now and in 2031, based on current planned growth and identified highway improvements, including the Upper Orwell Crossings.
In addition to these improvements there is likely to be a need for significant additional road capacity in the area to support future growth. Highway options for consideration in the next stage of the study include; single and dual carriageway roads that could provide relief to traffic using the A14; a full relief road to primarily serve local traffic demand; partial relief roads to connect areas of potential development to the main road network; and local distributor roads to spread traffic across the network.
Initial broad route corridors have been considered for a potential link between the A12 and A14 - an inner corridor from Martlesham to Claydon, a middle corridor from Woodbridge to Claydon, and an outer corridor from Melton to Needham Market.
Preliminary traffic modelling has indicated roads in each of these corridors would have different effects on traffic. For example, an outer corridor would have more benefit to longer distance trips than trips more local to the Ipswich area.
Each potential corridor would also have different impacts on the environment, and on the potential to support future growth.
A package of proposals to improve the A14 junctions around Ipswich is also being developed by the county council working alongside Highways England.
Cllr James Finch, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for Highways and Transport said: "This is an initial study into possible relief roads serving the north of Ipswich.
"It is the very first stage of what is a lengthy process to review the options to relieve congestion in Ipswich - although it is also worth noting there is no single solution to address present and future traffic issues in the town.
"We will continue to work on the feasibility of any potential relief road with our partners to do the best we can for those using the roads in and around Ipswich."
The next stage of study will examine route options in more detail, including traffic, economic and environmental impacts. It will also consider the extent to which the options might support potential future scenarios for housing and employment growth beyond 2031.
Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich said: "This is the first stage in what will be a complicated but necessary process of determining the best route around the top of the town that will not only relieve traffic congestion in Ipswich and on the Orwell Bridge, but that will support further development for much needed housing in our town and county.
"It is very important that we complete the study as quickly as possible so that we can identify a preferred route, we can build it into our plans and start campaigning for the money that will be required."
David Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council Leader, said: "This study is of huge significance for the whole of Suffolk.
"We have seen the damage to the local economy that relying on the Orwell Bridge as a single point of failure causes. Our creaking infrastructure will increasingly put a brake on Ipswich's role as the key economic driver for Suffolk.
"I welcome the publication of the interim report and look forward to the full study being completed as soon as possible."