This week Suffolk County Council revealed the detailed route alignment, while ground investigation work is also ongoing.
The Orwell Crossings Project will see the construction of two new crossings near Ipswich’s waterfront area, together with the refurbishment of an existing swing bridge across the lock that provides access to the Wet Dock and its marina facilities.
The main crossing is proposed to connect to the existing highway at the Rapier Street roundabout on Wherstead Road, west of the river, and at a new junction, north of Cliff Lane on Holywells Road, east of the river. The bridge crosses the river at an angle and incorporates an opening section over the navigation channel.
The second crossing will provide a new vehicular link to the Wet Dock Island site and is proposed to be accessed from Felaw Street.
Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble said: “This is a big announcement for the project, underlining our commitment to completing these crossings. These crossings will bring in major benefits to Ipswich and beyond, not only reducing congestion and improving journeys within Ipswich but also encouraging investment in the area and enabling stalled development to come forward.”
The council said that the timeline for the crossings remains on track and it is anticipated construction of the crossings will begin in 2020 with completion scheduled for 2023. Ground investigation works are continuing, with samples being taken on land and in the riverbed to inform the type and depth of foundations for the bridge and approach embankments.
The works on land have been continuing to schedule, and there have been several weeks of drilling operations in the water from two jack-up barges.
Foster & Partners was selected as lead designer for the project last year. WSP is the client’s engineer.
The council has released images this week showing the route alignment but they do not show details of the structure or any of the supporting piers as the design of the crossings continues and will be announced ahead of the formal consultation later this year.