68.1 Sam Cliff, Assistant Project Manager for the Upper Orwell Crossings provided an update on the Upper Orwell Crossings and confirmed that the benefits of the crossings would include a reduction in journey times, increased connectivity and improved reliability leading to significant savings. The ground investigation work had now been completed and the samples taken would be tested to check the strength of the material to inform the design of the crossings.
68.2 The alignment for the crossings had been announced at the end of February 2018 and were:- Crossing A (the main crossing for vehicles) would connect from a roundabout on Wherstead Road (on the Riverside Industrial site) to an eastern landing point on Holywells Road, over Cliff Lane. Crossing B would provide a link to the Wet Dock Island Site and Crossing C (the existing swing bridge across the lock giving access to Neptune Marina) would be refurbished for cyclists and pedestrian use.
68.3 There would be public information events and focus groups with residents of Wherstead Road and Holywells Road before a formal consultation took place in the autumn with the design visualisations being available in the spring of 2019. Construction would be expected to commence in 2020.
68.4 The Chair asked how long the main bridge would be closed for should boat users require access to the Wet Dock? Mr Cliff said the Navigation Working Group were analysing the boat data, work continued to assess the tidal range and it was anticipated that the bridge would not open during peak traffic times. The Chair also asked about the air quality when lorries were stationary, waiting for the bridge to open? The Officer said that baseline air quality surveys would assess the air quality although as the bridge was an open area there should be no overall impact. In fact the air quality in the Star Lane area should improve due to reduced congestion.
68.5 Councillor Vickery asked where the access would be for Crossing B to the Island site? Mr Cliff said that this would be accessed via an existing roundabout on Felaw Street by the Felaw Maltings building.
68.6 Councillor Meudec expressed concern that congestion could move from one area to another and that some housing was very close to the alignment of the proposed bridge which would affect their noise levels. Mr Cliff said that the road level of the new road would be similar to the existing road level of Virginia Street however, the road would be between 10 and 20 metres away. Road noise would also be assessed as part of the air quality monitoring and transport modelling and if necessary noise barriers would be put in place.
68.7 A resident asked about whether the traffic noise on Landseer Road would increase? Mr Cliff said that there could be a knock on effect on other roads in the area of Landseer Road and a focus group would be looking at this in more detail.
68.8 A resident asked whether strong winds on Crossing A could be a problem and whether wind proofing measures would be installed? Mr Cliff said that the bridge would be a lot lower than the Orwell Bridge and was more sheltered but this would be looked at as part of the assessment.
68.9 Councillor Goldsmith said that initially there should not be any increase in the amount of lorries already using Wherstead Road, just that a different route would be taken and Mr Cliff said that future demand would be looked at in regards to any increase in traffic movements. The Chair thanked the Suffolk County Council Officer for his attendance.