Agenda item

Presentation: Upper Orwell Crossings Project Update

Minutes:

53.1.    The Chair introduced Ms Suzanne Buck, Project Manager for the Upper Orwell Crossings, who gave a presentation with the following key points:

·           Katherine Potts appointed as the Consultation Officer for the Ipswich and Lowestoft Crossings Projects.

·           The Ground Investigation works would be starting next week by specialists Fugro Geo Services Ltd in order to map the local geology of the area and determine the strength of materials.

·           Works would commence in the compound, with the river works due to start the following week.

·           28 bore holes would be drilled out, as well as cone penetration testing and excavated trial pits on land.

·           Archaeologists would be undertaking a watching brief during the excavation works.

·           Barriers would be employed to mitigate noise and the compound would operate off battery pack power overnight; noise levels would be monitored throughout the operations.

·           4,800 newsletters had been sent out to residents, local businesses and service providers to advise of changes in noise levels arising from the works, and the equipment and rigs used would be clearly marked with project banners.

·           Project updates as the works progress could be found on the website: www.suffolk.gov.uk/upperorwellcrossings, along with telephone and email contact information.

·           Following the Ground Investigation works, public consultation on the proposed designs would take place in autumn 2018, including focus groups, and the application for Development Consent Order (DCO) would be submitted in spring 2019; if consent was granted, construction would commence in 2020.
[Note: This minute was subsequently amended at the meeting held on 14 March 2018].

53.2.    Councillor Debman: If the ground works don’t find chalk, will the project still go ahead?  It’s clear that you already know where the bridge will be located and residents on the Rivers estate are very concerned.
The location of the chalk was known, but its depth needed to be confirmed to determine how many piles would be needed.  The alignment of the bridge was a key issue; there was little scope for variation for the landing points due to physical constraints, e.g. railway sidings, navigation channels and general access.  Two transport models were being developed to demonstrate the benefits and potential local impacts. Engaging with the public was key to identifying local issues and how best to mitigate them, and focus groups would be set up as part of this process.

53.3.    Councillor Cook: If there are any noise nuisance issues, they can be reported to the Council’s out of hours service on Ipswich 433115. Does the transport model reinforce the business case, i.e. a proposed increase of over 1,000 vehicles per hour along Cliff Lane?
The increase in traffic would be of that order; the impact would be looked at and measures put in place to mitigate it.  Whilst there would be local impact, the new link would be of benefit to the town centre and Ipswich as a whole.

53.4.    Councillor Cook: When will the new transport model be made public?
The model itself was not easy to share, but scenarios were being modelled for different times of the day.  The outcomes from the model could be shared and would be available before the public consultation in May/June 2018.
[Note: This minute was subsequently amended at the meeting held on 14 March 2018].

53.5.    Local resident: Will there be any impact in terms of vibration from the drilling of the bore holes?
The drilling would be intermittent, as there would be breaks to clear out the bore holes.  The impact of any vibration was not expected to extend too far and investigation works had been carried out in relation to neighbouring buildings.

53.6.    County Councillor Gaylard: How will the focus groups be set up in terms of membership and resident involvement, what will be their purpose and how much weight will be given to their output?
The starting point for involvement in the focus groups would be those people who showed an interest in the project during the 2016 public consultation process, which would be mostly residents plus some business members. The purpose of the focus groups would be to get a greater understanding of the concerns of local people, looking at options to mitigate concerns and getting feedback on these options.

53.7.    Local resident: There has not been much consultation recently. The boreholes are in quite discrete places, but there is no map of the route – is this a secret?
Since the consultation in 2016, a lot of work has been undertaken; there had been a delay in obtaining legal permissions for the ground investigation works to go ahead.  These works, together with the impact on businesses, would then inform the alignment and location of the landing points, and members of the business community have been kept up-to-date. Once there was certainty over the alignment, this information would be made public.