40 reasons why we need a dual carriageway Northern Bypass
Orwell Ahead hopes a northern bypass would ease this kind of congestion in Colchester Road, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
As Suffolk County Council - in partnership with other local authorities - starts the consultation process over plans for a new northern route for Ipswich to ease traffic in the area and stimulate new development, campaign group Orwell Ahead has set out 40 reasons why the town needs a full Northern Bypass.
The group says that while it sympathises with those impacted and understand the environmental concerns raised over the Northern Route, it is still backing the bypass.
It says every one of its statistical statements is sourced; generally from three Local Plans (Ipswich Borough, East Suffolk, Babergh & MSDC) and from council prospectuses, industry sources (including the Port of Felixstowe website).
The group states: "Orwell Ahead campaign believe that a dual carriageway "inner option" northern route (Claydon to Martlesham) must be the number one priority and objective for Suffolk Chamber, Suffolk County Council and all stakeholders in the region."
To keep the Port of Felixstowe viable
1. 1982: 300,000 container moves crossing the new Orwell Bridge
NOW 3 Million+
2. 1982: Container ship optimum size 1,800 containers per vessel, discharging 300-400 TEUS per port call
NOW: 22,000 container vessels, discharging 6,000 containers per port call
3. The Port of Felixstowe is the only major container terminal in northern Europe NOT connected by a motorway. Post Brexit deep sea trade will grow significantly, our country depends upon it.
4. Around 30,000 logistics jobs are directly and indirectly dependent on the local and regional infrastructure (rail and highways) in and around Ipswich.
5. The Port of Felixstowe is facing an increasing threat from London Gateway.
6. London Gateway has 120 miles of motorway to the "golden triangle" (the key midlands distribution hubs). The South East LEP is promoting a Lower Thames Crossing which will alleviate the worst of congestion affecting London Gateway.
7. From Felixstowe you must travel 120 miles before reaching motorway on route to these hubs. The journey is on a badly congested A14 with major bottle necks and weak points, like the Orwell Bridge which is already creaking with 3m containers crossing each year.
To serve a successful and growing area
8. Ipswich is one of the country's largest and fastest growing economies with £4.5bn GVA per annum.
9. The Greater Ipswich area has a combined GVA of around £8bn pa. It is the heart of the greatest economic zone in Norfolk and Suffolk. We take it for granted at our peril.
10. Norwich and Norfolk secured £400m-plus of spending for upgrades to the A11 and A47, and sensibly concluded that there must be a dual carriageway northern bypass for Norwich. The Norwich Northern Distributor Road on its own is coming in at around £185m.
11. Ipswich is very similar in population size to Norwich and Cambridge. Our urban centre has a higher population than Norwich. Our "greater urban area" and "Office of National Statistics Travel to Work" area is also similar.
12. By 2031, Suffolk's population is expected to grow by 27% (195,000). Much of this growth will be in the Ipswich to Felixstowe peninsula.
13. A complete inner option Northern Bypass will unlock massive economic benefits for the Port of Felixstowe, BT Martlesham, south and east Suffolk and Greater Ipswich.
14. A complete inner option Northern Bypass will assist the flow to/from east Suffolk. Being the final link in a "Greater Ipswich orbital road system" it would provide clockwise and counter clockwise options to navigate and enter/exit East Anglia's biggest city economy.
15. A complete inner option Northern Bypass could provide at least five more key routes to/from/through Ipswich.
To form a Greater Ipswich Orbital allowing for movement to/from/across the town
16. 1982: Ipswich Borough's population 110,000.
NOW: 133,000. FORECAST: 150,000
17. 1982: Kesgrave, Martlesham and Trimley once villages
NOW: Suffolk Coastal District Council (now East Suffolk District Council) putting 51% of its housing south of the Deben like an "Ipswich Mark II", disjointed new towns and massive planned estates with no joined up infrastructure to serve them.
18. 1982: Greater Ipswich travel to work (TTW) area population 180,000
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NOW: 250,000 (TTW ONS)
19. 1982: Estimated 40,000 vehicle moves per day
NOW: reaching 70,000 vehicle moves per day in and around the town
20. The traffic congestion in the town centre and surrounding roads will get worse. Increased journey times are deterring people from driving into Ipswich for work, business, retail or tourism.
21. Noise and poor air quality around the queuing traffic within Ipswich is increasing. The health of residents in Ipswich will suffer and this will add further cost to the public purse.
22. There is no contingency should the Orwell Bridge need major repair or become structurally compromised. The whole of east and south Suffolk would be economically at risk.
To allow a proper bypass option
23. Of 70,000 daily moves around 15% are Port of Felixstowe related, plus another 15% from South West Suffolk to/from North East Suffolk which have to go through Ipswich or over the Orwell on route.
24. This route also serves the entire east Suffolk economy, including Sizewell A and B (and possibly C).
25. This route is key to a possible Cambridge Ipswich Tech Corridor (Adastral park), and future jobs that Norwich is actively targeting.
26. There is a significant percentage of people who live in Ipswich and work out of town, and vice versa. Accessing a northern bypass or Ipswich orbital would relieve stress on our interior roads, which would improve transport across the town.
27. 12,000 new homes are planned across 3 local authorities to the north and east of Ipswich.
28. SCDC (now East Suffolk District Council) is putting 51% of their new houses in the north and east Ipswich and Felixstowe area (around 4 to 6,000 homes), Babergh and MSDC a large number too (around 3-5,000 new houses) on the western Ipswich fringe. Ipswich Borough also plans 4,000 extra houses within the ancient and outdated borough boundaries on the northern Ipswich fringe. A perfect Suffolk storm is heading this way.
To better serve villages to the north of Ipswich
29. We doubt anyone is still objecting to - or would be without - the southern bypass or Orwell Bridge now.
30. With a massive planned expansion of housing and a possible post Brexit boom for deep sea cargo the villages north of Ipswich face becoming trapped in cul-de-sacs.
31. Areas like the Crofts, Northgate, Bixley, Kesgrave and Martlesham will become gridlocked.
32. Villages like Brightwell, Bucklesham, Wherstead, Levington, Nacton, Sproughton, Bramford, Claydon are no less attractive places to live by being close to the A12/A14. Quite the contrary, they benefit from having excellent links, accessibility and local economy.
33. With 12,000 new homes planned west, north and east of Ipswich the very villages historically opposed to a bypass are now most in need of one.
34. This is an Ipswich, South Suffolk, East Suffolk, East Anglia and national issue. It could take six to 10 years to deliver, so we must start now to ensure that this part of Anglia has the infrastructure needed for the next 50 years.
Orwell Ahead campaign backs a dual carriageway (such as the A12 east of ipswich or Norwich NDR): a dual carriageway with roundabouts; from Claydon junction to Martlesham junction
35. A full "expressway"/"motorway" (A14/A12) northern bypass with major junctions is not financially achievable at this time.
36. A single carriageway Northern Relief Road will be overwhelmed when the bridge is closed. It will quickly be compromised in the short term by natural growth and too expensive to upgrade it at a later time.
37. A second bridge on the Orwell will be subject to the same problems as the current bridge. It will not address the greater needs of the local area or wider region, or provide the same level of benefits as a northern route.
38. A tunnel under the Orwell will be too expensive. It wont be able to cater for over-width or hazardous cargo, the depth and incline would not meet the needs of long container vehicles.
39. A second southern route will only put more volume of traffic into an area that is already congested. It will not provide any economic advantage for east Suffolk. It will not provide any benefit or solution for the 12,000 additional houses planned to the north and east of Ipswich.
40. The southern bypass was planned 50 years ago, built 35 years ago, and yet we haven't even started planning highway expansion for the next wave of growth in population and freight.