£100m Ipswich river crossings project moves a step closer

A multi-million pound river crossing project has moved closer to reality with Suffolk County Council revealing how three bridges will look like and where they are proposed to align in the town.

Three locations for the new Upper Orwell Crossings in Ipswich have now been published and will go on display to the public next week. Work has been ongoing to ensure there is minimal impact on land, property and access. 

The largest new bridge proposed is approximately 600m long and would be a main bridge over the river. The second bridge would act as a wet dock crossing to a new technology area for the town and the final bridge is a reconstruction of an existing footpath and cycleway. 

Construction work on the crossings is scheduled to begin in 2020 with completion in 2023, the council said. The government has granted £77m towards the £100m that the crossings are expected to cost.

Those behind the bid believe the crossings should ease the traffic around the town centre and improve journeys made within the area.

Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich, said: “A lot of work was needed to find an alignment that minimises the impact of the bridge on land, property and access before this announcement could be made. I’m very pleased we can now share this information and I and the team look forward to talking with people about it, and the public information day on 6 March will provide a great opportunity to do so.”

While exact design details are still unclear, Foster+Partners was selected as the architect for the £100m project last March after winning a design competition held by RIBA on behalf of Suffolk County Council. Foster+Partners' innovative design combines the main road bridge and the foot and cycleway crossing in one structure, with two separate bridge decks sharing the same pier supports where the footway crosses between the east and west banks.

The council say final details of the bridges are due to be published early next year and they will then go through the planning process. Council leaders claim the development could generate £600m for the local economy.

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