PUBLISHED: 21:39 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 21:39 09 November 2018
The Ipswich Road roadworks in Colchester are to be accelerated after a petition signed by thousands of angry motorists demanded progress.
The works, originally due to finish in 2020, are taking place on the A133 Ipswich/Harwich Road roundabouts, two high-traffic sets of double roundabouts in the heart of Colchester.
But Colchester drivers were left despairing after daily mile-long traffic jams and the closure of a segment of Ipswich Road for utility works for more than a month brought the road network grinding to a halt.
The county council, with partners Essex Highways and contractors Eurovia are now seeking to speed up work on the surface changes to the road layout, due to begin in 2019.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “We apologise for the delay and disruption to businesses, motorists and residents, but this work really is essential.
“Without it, we run the risk of gridlock in a few years’ time, with dire impacts for the Local economy.
“This is complex work, with much of the current work going on underground as utility companies and BT excavate, remove and divert cables and pipes.
“Once all this preliminary work is complete in 2019, we can begin work on the new roundabouts and road layout. It is at this stage when we believe we can speed things up.”
Essex County Council have confirmed that no date has been set for the work to finish, but that the roadworks will be accelerated.
Months of underground utility work are being completed before road layout changes, including moving pipe work, electrical cables, and piling in the walls at the nearby railway line and Waitrose.
Mr Bentley added: “Colchester is an old town with an old road network and with work this scale, delays are inevitable.
“We will do all we can so that we can ensure the road layout is fit for the future.”
The online petition, backed by Colchester MP Will Quince and borough councillors, was started by Twitter activist account, ColchesterViews.
In response to the News, they said: “We are delighted the people of Colchester have made their thoughts clear and that Cllr Bentley is listening.
“These roadworks are causing misery to people on a daily basis, the words from Mr Bentley are welcome.”
Source : EADT