1. What is Ipswich Northern Route?
The project considers a proposed new east/west road link between the A12 and A14 to deliver better more reliable journeys for people travelling across Suffolk. We also want help enable Suffolk’s growth prospects and support our growing population and economy.
2. Why do we need a new road?
This project is needed to improve existing journeys, supporting the local economy, and provide capacity for future growth. By delivering more reliable journeys, additional cycling and walking facilities and a link to new houses and businesses, the project will enhance Suffolk as a great place to do business and an attractive place for people to live.
In order to support growth in the longer term whilst also supporting the existing communities, residents and businesses in Suffolk, we need to consider carefully the infrastructure that may be needed.
In 2016 an initial study was undertaken to look at transport conditions across the wider Ipswich area, both now and in the future. This work showed that the road network suffers from frequent and severe delays, constraining growth and reducing productivity. In particular, the work highlighted issues of congestion on the A14, supporting the No more A14 delays campaign. It also identified problems relating to the Orwell Bridge crossing and traffic in Ipswich, impacting on nationally important assets such as the Port of Felixstowe.
Further work has since been undertaken to assess a wide range of options that could deliver the transport improvements needed for the wider Ipswich area. This work identified a new road as the most effective way to facilitate growth and deliver transport improvements.
This work has helped develop a set of project objectives to guide our work.
3. Who is working on Ipswich Northern Route?
We are working together, Suffolk County Council, Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils, East Suffolk Council and Ipswich Borough Council with support from West Suffolk Council to develop the best project for Suffolk.
4. What are the benefits of Ipswich Northern Route?
The project aims to deliver the objectives below:
Improve businesses’ and people’s experience of using the A14 and provide additional route resilience.
a) Positive impact on the A14; particularly for junctions with existing capacity issues and between Copdock roundabout, J55, and Seven Hills roundabout, J58
b) Improve connections for vehicles accessing the north of Suffolk and Norfolk from the A14 and A12
c) Reduce congestion and improve resilience of the road network when the Orwell Bridge is closed
Support the existing local economy through improved connectivity, making Suffolk the best place to do business.
a) Enable economic growth for wider Ipswich area and Suffolk by improving connectivity and accessibility
b) Support economic growth in Suffolk as set out in the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Economic Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk, including the Suffolk Energy Coast
c) Support the delivery of the economic opportunities identified in the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Industrial Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk
Provide additional travel options, helping to optimise existing road capacity in Ipswich, leading to environmental improvements.
a) Reduce congestion within Ipswich town centre and on the A1214 corridor
b) Improve opportunities for sustainable trips in the greater Ipswich area, including walking and cycling.
c) Improved air quality and reduce noise on existing roads
Directly support new homes and jobs growth to ensure the future success of Suffolk.
a) Provide additional transport capacity for planned and future residential and employment growth in the wider Ipswich area
b) Enable the delivery of around 10,000 to 15,000 additional homes across Suffolk, supporting Suffolk’s housing ambitions
c) Optimise the environmental benefits of the project and support low carbon development
Work is being done to calculate the costs benefit ratio for the project, which assesses the project’s value for money. This will be presented in the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC), the consultation result also forms part of the SOBC.
Initial work on the economic benefits for the project suggest good value for money. This will be refined for the final SOBC.
5. How were the benefits calculated?
The benefits of the project include transport benefits, for example journey time savings, and wider benefits, such as agglomeration benefits ie by bringing business and the labour supply ‘closer’ together through improved journey times and productivity benefits. The benefits calculations are being prepared in accordance with Department for Transport guidance and best practice. We are looking at the impact on journey times as a result of the road as well as planned growth currently identified in the local plans.
6. What happens next?
The result of the consultation will feed into a Strategic Outline Business Case for the project and inform whether or not the project is continued to the next stage.
7. When would the road be constructed?
The project is in the early stages and no final decisions have yet been made. Future work would be needed to develop a preferred route, develop emerging growth ambitions, make a submission for planning approval and secure funding, before delivery.
This consultation is the first step in the process to understand views of local people, businesses and other organisations on the indicative route and junction options. There will be further consultation with more detail if the project proceeds.
The result of this consultation will feed into a Strategic Outline Business Case for the project and will inform whether the project is continued to the next stage.
The earliest a new road could be delivered would be 2027.
8. What are your plans to ensure good quality engagement with the communities?
We want to consult the local community in order to understand the needs, impacts, issues and benefits Ipswich Northern Route could bring. This consultation is the first step in the process to assess the views of local people, businesses and other organisations
on the proposed route and junction options. There will be further consultation with more detail as the project develops, if the project is taken to the next stage.
9. What about Brexit?
We are not planning on applying for funding from direct EU sources. It is not anticipated that Brexit will impact the progress of the project at this stage.
10. What about planning approval?
An Ipswich Northern Route will require either a traditional planning application or a Development Consent Order (DCO) application under the Planning Act 2008. The type of planning route has not yet been determined and will be confirmed later if the project is progressed.
11. Have any other options been considered?
We have already undertaken initial assessments of the need for the project and transport options. A total of 31 options were identified and assessed including:
- Buses e.g. additional routes and Bus Rapid Transit
- Rail e.g. new rail stations, increased capacity and frequency
- Road e.g. new roads to the north and east, junction improvements and a tunnel under the River Orwell
- Smart Technology e.g. integrated transport
We assessed the options to find out which would provide the most benefits in relation to our objectives. We also assessed the options against the following categories:
- Scale of Impact;
- Practicable feasibility;
- Affordability, and
- Public Acceptability.
The assessment scores identified the top five highest scoring options to be new road links to the north of Ipswich between the A14 and the A12. The routes were a mix of single and dual carriageways. Alternative options may still provide benefits and may still be delivered alongside a new road.
12. How does a road impact economic growth?
The case for the road is that it will ease congestion and improve resilience and open up the potential for future growth by providing more reliable journeys for businesses, visitors and residents. It is likely that future growth opportunities for businesses may be enhanced by a new route and support many of the nationally important sectors within Suffolk, such as energy and port logistics.
13. How many houses is the road going to provide?
The road aims to enable the delivery of around 10,000 to 15,000 additional homes across Suffolk, supporting Suffolk’s housing ambitions.
14. Where would this growth go?
No work has currently been undertaken on the potential for additional growth. This will form part of the next stage of work if the decision is taken to continue the project.
15. How can you build a road and housing in Ipswich’s surrounding countryside?
Whilst this isn’t Greenbelt land, we recognise the potential impact on the environment and people’s enjoyment of this land. We have undertaken initial work to identify environmental constraints that has been used to inform the route options in order to minimise impact on the local environment and avoid where possible designated sensitive sites. We have also undertaken a high level (desk-top) environmental assessment of the route options to identify likely impacts and potential need for mitigation. Looking ahead, the design of the proposed routes will require further detailed environmental assessment work to minimise potential effects on the environment, mitigate any impacts that are unavoidable, and identify any opportunities for environmental enhancement, such as creating new habitats and planting trees and hedgerows.
The housing growth anticipated in the current round of local plans will not require the provision of the Ipswich Northern Route. Further significant housing growth that may be associated with the INR should be planned for in future revisions of the local plans and would require their own environmental and sustainability assessments.
Our environmental assessment does not include the assessment of additional housing enabled by the project.
Any housing would need to be planned for and would require planning consent, which would include separate environmental assessment.
16. What about traffic impacts of growth?
We are mindful of the potential increase in traffic due to growth, resulting in increased congestion. Assessing the likely impact of increased traffic forms a fundamental part of the traffic modelling that has been undertaken to support this project. The modelling has considered planned growth impacts; in 2027 the earliest year of opening and 2042, as 15 years after opening as required by the Department for Transport standard guidance. The traffic assessments consider both positive and negative impacts, such as the identification of congestion hot-spots.
17. What are the costs of the route?
The delivery of a new road will cost a significant amount. Initial indications are this could be in the range of £500-560m. The estimate varies depending on the route and junction type (as shown in the consultation brochure). A significant proportion of risk and contingency is included in these figures to reflect the early stage of the project.
18. How do you estimate the cost?
Using established standardised methodologies, we create an estimated cost to design and build a road. The calculations take into account the length and standard cross section of the routes, professional fees to cover modelling, surveys, design development and the planning process, potential cost of land required, cost of utilities diversions, environmental mitigation and the different structures of each route. A structure will include culverts, bridges over existing roads and more substantial structures over rivers, flood plains and railways.
The estimated costs take account of potential inflation, risk and contingency.
19. Will the costs rise?
The costs calculations do take account of potential inflation, risk and contingency, which provide a level of certainty. The detail on cost at this stage are in line with approach taken nationally for projects. Assumptions will be checked and costs refined as the alignment is confirmed and more detailed work undertaken.
As projects develop from the feasibility stage, and acquire more detail, the cost estimates will evolve with any increases in the costs of the road expected to be accommodated by the amounts currently included for risk and contingency.
If the project moves ahead, an independent third party will be used to verify developed costs.
20. Why is the project so much money?
The Ipswich Northern Route is a substantial project in terms of its length, between 12km and 18km long, and width of cross-section by considering a dual carriageway. Regardless of the option taken forward, there is work needed in the design to integrate into the existing road network and environment. This will include a number of roundabouts and bridges, some of which will be substantial in length, and environmental mitigation. There is also a considerable amount of land required for the project.
21. How much has been funded so far?
Public sector leaders have committed £550,000 for the completion of a Strategic Outline Business Case. Beyond this work nothing is committed to from the local authorities. The SOBC will help inform whether the project should be taken forward.
22. Who will pay for the project?
At the moment we do not have any certainty on where the money will come from. It is likely to be from a variety of sources, including a Government fund. The project is preparing a business case which seeks to secure Government investment through the Large Local Majors (LLM) Fund, itself part of the £3.5b National Roads Fund. If successful in this funding request, 85% of the scheme cost would be met through this fund. The remaining 15% of scheme costs would need to be provided through other funding streams. Options will need to be investigated to identify how this funding would be secured.
23. What is a traffic model?
This is a computer simulation that allows us to estimate how traffic may move across an area and how different changes to the road network and/or level of flow might impact people. Traffic surveys are carried out and the data is used to calibrate the model to existing traffic conditions. This helps us to build a picture of existing traffic capacity and journey times at different times of the day.
When using the model to forecast the future we take into account the likely level of future housing and jobs and produce an estimate of the level of future travel demand. The model helps us to understand the likely routes that drivers may choose based on estimated levels of future congestion. It also gives the ability to make changes to the road network to see what the likely impact would be.
24. Induced demand
Induced demand is when the provision of a new road or additional road capacity, encourages additional journeys; either people choosing to drive rather than use alternative transport or make additional trips. The current model has not included for this behaviour due to the early stage of the project. However, the transport model is able to consider this behaviour and, if the project continues, induced demand will be included in future transport modelling.
25. How will this project help to provide relief when the Orwell Bridge is closed?
It is likely that provision of a strategic road linking the A14 and A12 to the north of Ipswich is likely to offer an alternative route to drivers on the A14 at times when the Orwell Bridge is closed, providing relief to the centre of Ipswich. Initial transport modelling suggests that routes closer to Ipswich attract more traffic off the A14 than the most northerly ‘Outer’ option. Further work is to be undertaken to assess these benefits for the Strategic Outline Business Case.
26. Isn’t the traffic modelling a bit dated? (2015)
This is a very long-term project and typically traffic models are refreshed every 3-5 years as they require large-scale data collection to inform their development. The Suffolk County Transport Model (SCTM) is still in date but will be refreshed as the scheme develops.
27. Have you taken into account the housing growth in traffic figures?
Yes, future housing and employment sites have been established and a decision is made to include or exclude it from the traffic model forecasts based on its level of certainty. Sites with no planning status have been excluded.
28. Why isn’t this helping central Ipswich traffic?
The impact of traffic within Ipswich has been assessed, and this has been a consideration during the option development stage. A number of the key connecting routes in Ipswich are expected to experience reduced traffic flows, this is particularly true for the Inner Route, but less so for the Outer Route. The Options also create opportunities for complimentary schemes to come forward that may provide increased local benefits, such improved journey times for public transport in response to reduced congestion, or greater flexibility in route choice.
29. What do these % figures on the consultation maps mean to me?
They provide an indication of the level of traffic change that might be expected as a result of the Ipswich Northern Route being implemented. They represent a comparison of the predicted level of traffic in 2027 (including planned growth and new developments) with the scheme and without the scheme. The percentage changes are for 24hr flows. An increase represents places where flows are expected to increase as a result of the scheme and a decrease represents places where flows are expected to decrease as a result of the scheme.
As a comparator, some studies have suggested that the difference in traffic between school term time and school holiday times in Ipswich can be around 15%.
30. What does the travel percentage changes mean to me?
The table below shows the estimated percentage changes in travel times (peak times) for different west-to-east journeys for the points below with each of the routes options in place, in 2027.
31. How will the impact on the environment be assessed?
Initially for the Options Assessment Report a high level environmental appraisal of the long list of options was undertaken to outline the existing environmental constraints and the potential impacts during construction and operation for each of the initial options. This assessment included:
- Agriculture, Forestry and vegetation Management
- Air Quality
- Buildings, Structures and Historic Assets
- Contaminated Land
- Landscape, Townscape and Visual
- Nuisance, Noise, Vibration and Light
- Traffic Generation and Access
- Water Resources, Pollution and Drainage
- Materials and Waste Management
Subsequently we have undertaken a more detailed desktop study to map out the potential environmental constraints in the study area. A detailed environmental constraints map has been produced which has helped to refine the design of the roads and junctions. A summary of the environmental constraints map is included in the consultation brochure.
The key environmental constraints identified within the Study Area are as follows:
- Historic Environment: Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II Listed Buildings; Scheduled monuments; and Conservation areas.
- Sensitive Receptors: nurseries; primary and secondary Schools; and other educational facilities.
- Utilities: electricity overhead; buried utilities including high pressure gas pipelines; and East Anglia One and Three buried power route.
- Registered Parks and Gardens: Grade I; Grade II; Grade II*;
- Protected Areas including Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; Local Nature Reserve; Ramsar Site – Wetland of international importance; Special Protection Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
- Priority Habitats Inventory including (but not limited to: Ancient Woodland inventory; coastal and floodplain grazing marsh; deciduous woodland grassland; fens, heathland and meadows; and.
- Water Environment: Flood zone 3; Flood zone 2; Suffolk River Valleys and statutory main rivers.
Furthermore, detailed environmental assessment will be undertaken during the future stages of this project to avoid, minimise and mitigate potential effects of the proposed scheme on the environment.
32. Have we been able to calculate the carbon footprint?
One of the objectives of the project is to optimise the environmental benefits of the project and support low carbon development.
At this stage a full carbon footprint assessment has not been done, however an indicative calculation has been undertaken to assess potential reductions in carbon dioxide emissions as a consequence of reduced congestion and more efficient journeys for each of the three options. The results show for the Outer Route approximately 32,000 tonnes of Co2 would be saved over 60 year, 46,000 tonnes for the Middle Route and 110,000 tonnes for the Inner Route. This calculation is based on current vehicle types and does not take into account the expected transition to electric vehicles for example.
If the project progresses further detailed environmental assessment will be required including the carbon impact of the project.
The potential carbon footprint of additional development has not yet been considered.
33. How will landscape, visual noise impacts be mitigated?
If the project progresses, we will need to assess what the landscape and visual impacts may be. This cannot be undertaken yet as the project is at an early design stage but consideration will be given to this during the evolution of the design.
34. How have you decided what is a key connecting route?
As part of the work done to develop the transport model, we have been able to identify a number of arterial roads that act as key radial routes into, and out of, Ipswich town centre and a network of minor roads that connect residential settlements with the town itself and strategic routes. These routes are considered in the Options Assessment Report and the consultation brochure.
35. When will we know more about the junctions?
The current proposal is that the key connecting routes will link with the new route by a roundabout. Once a preferred route is selected during the following Outline Business Case stage, further design work will be undertaken to confirm the junction type and detail.
It is recognised that there are a number of other roads, rights of way and accesses that may be impacted by a new route. It is hoped that detail on the current use of some of these will be obtained through the consultation. This work will be developed if the project progresses.
36. What about sustainable travel options?
It is proposed that the road will include additional provision for a shared route for pedestrians and cyclists, or local improvements to existing public rights of way to improve access to more sustainable walking and cycling routes. These routes will create a network of interconnections with existing routes, providing opportunities for improved local connectivity and greater choice of route. Additionally, as the options include junctions with existing radial routes, there are more opportunities to improve public transport services along these routes.
37. Will there be a bridleway?
At this stage we have made allowance for the provision of a route alongside the entire length of the option routes, for pedestrians and cyclists. It is recognised that there may be a desire for bridleway provision, we look forward to information and suggestions through the consultation on opportunities for inclusion of this type of facility. This would be considered in more detail at the next stage of the project.
38. Will there be changes to local access routes or footpaths?
The impact of the preferred route on existing access routes and footpaths will be considered at the next stage of project development. It is hoped that consultation responses will assist in identifying these routes in more detail.
39. Why are you just facilitating more traffic on roads, you should be focused on reducing the number of cars on roads?
We are committed to investing in our infrastructure over the long term, to support economic and housing growth. This includes improving infrastructure for non-motorised users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. We are keen to learn during early engagement and consultation how people currently travel, how a new route might change this including opportunities to travel sustainably.
40. What is the maximum width of dual carriageway and footway/verge?
The distance of the road, verge, cycleway and fence is an estimated minimum width of 33.6metres.Although it should be noted that the gross land-take may be substantially greater at locations where we have embankments to make-up any difference in ground level, or for additional landscaping (for noise bunds, tree planting screening etc), and drainage basins etc.
41. Are you talking to potentially affected landowners?
We have undertaken some initial work to identify landowners in close proximity to the three routes using Land Registry searches. We have contacted these individuals and invited them to specific landowner events which will allow us to discuss our early stage proposals and potential route options for the new road and its junctions.
As the routes are still being decided we recognize that we may not have identified all of those with an interest in potentially affected land.
The extent of land required or affected by the road either during construction, or operation, is yet to be confirmed. If plans progress, we are committed to continuing to work with landowners and keeping them updated.
42. Will there be a requirement for compulsory purchase of land?
Every effort will be made during design stages to minimise the need for the compulsory purchase of land. However, all of the options being put forward do require the acquisition of some land. The amount of land that is required will depend on the option that is selected as the preferred route. Work has been undertaken to identify landowners that may be affected by the project; these have been contacted directly. We will continue to engage with landowners as more detail becomes available.
43. Will there be a need to access private land for Environmental survey work?
Yes, if the project progresses to the next stage then further environmental survey work will be required. Environmental surveys help produce a picture of the existing environment conditions and identify important species or habitats in the area. A wide search area has to be assessed to gain in-depth understanding of the impact of the road scheme on all species of fauna and flora. This includes species such as newts, bats and birds, which cover a wide territory for activities such as roosting, nesting and foraging. Other environmental impacts are likely to include noise levels, air quality, and drainage/water/flooding impacts which all require thorough investigation.
44. Will there be a need for land to be occupied during the construction phase for site compounds?
Yes, but the project design is at an early stage, and route not selected so the size and location of land likely to be affected is not yet known.
45. How can I give you my views?
This is the first consultation on the possible route options, which runs from Friday 5 July to 13 September 2019. If the project progresses, there will be many opportunities for the public to get involved and to express their views.
As part of our consultation, you are welcome to join us at one of our local public events listed on the website at www.ipswichnorthernroute.org.uk Members of the team will be on hand to answer your questions and take you through the proposals. Hard copy consultation questionnaires will be available at the events, or on request from Suffolk County Council cutomer services 0345 603 1842
46. What will happen once the consultation period is finished?
The consultation period will last 10 weeks, from Friday 5 July to Fri 13 Sept 2019. Following the closing date, responses will be analysed, and a consultation summary report will be prepared, which will be made available to the public. The outcomes of the consultation will also be used in the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC)
47. What is the best way to stay updated on the scheme’s progress?
The best way to stay up to date with the scheme’s progress is via the Ipswich Northern Route website www.ipswichnortherroute.org.uk You can also subscribe to email alerts for updates on the project. Any questions or queries regarding the project can be sent to the project team at email@example.com
We also have a twitter feed for the project @IpswichRoute
48. Will consultation feedback be made available to the public?
Yes. We will produce a report on the feedback received and this report will be made available on the Ipswich Northern Route website. No personal information will be published within the report.
49. Who supports this project?
We are working together, Suffolk County Council, Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils, East Suffolk Council and Ipswich Borough Council with support from West Suffolk Council to develop the best project for Suffolk.
The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group, which is made up of the leaders and key officers of all local authorities in Suffolk have provided funding to develop the SOBC for the project.
50. When will the preferred route be announced?
Following the SOBC, and if the project progresses, further work will be undertaken to identify the preferred route and junctions as part of the Outline Business Case
51. Will this project happen?
The project is in the early stages and no final decisions have yet been made. There are a number of steps needed to explore fully the proposed benefits including the impacts and benefits of growth. We also need to secure full funding and the planning process to be undertaken, before delivery.
52. What’s changed from the Kesgrave bypass project that was turned down in the 1990’s?
This is a completely new project from the previous Kesgrave bypass project.
53. What happened with Upper Orwell Crossings project?
Late last year Suffolk County Council cancelled the Upper Orwell Crossings project. The Council undertook extensive work to secure additional financial backing for the three bridges project which was unsuccessful.
Suffolk County Council are still prepared to commit financially towards the costs of building the two smaller bridges, providing we can find significant funding partners to work with us and up to a maximum of £10.8 million which respects the overall commitment we made in 2016 towards the local contribution, less the costs incurred to date.
The Upper Orwell Crossings project started in 2015 with initial estimated project costs being £96.6 million for three bridges across the River Orwell in Ipswich. Costs were reassessed in 2018 and were independently verified by Jacobs who confirmed an increase in costs of up to £139.8 million due to a range of factors including ground investigation costs, changes in bridge design post consultation and unforeseen procurement costs.
The Ipswich Northern Route has always been designed as a separate scheme with different objectives and benefits.
54. What has happened with the Four Villages/SEGway bypass?
Work on a northern route for Ipswich will not be affected by the government’s decision not to grant funding for a four villages bypass. The new bypass was around four villages on the A12 between Wickham Market and Saxmundham. The Department of Transport has told Suffolk County Council that it cannot back the £133m project – officially known as the Suffolk Energy Gateway (SEGway) for three main reasons.
It is concerned about the overall value for money of the project, it felt the council had not provided enough money for it and neither had EDF as part of the case to build Sizewell C, and there are concerns about the environmental impact of the road.
The Department has said it might consider supporting a two-village bypass instead – but the county would have to demonstrate a greater level of financial support.
Suffolk County Council will continue to look for additional funding, including working with our MPs to have more conversations with Government. Our clear aim is to secure the money we need to deliver SEGWay.
Please note that this Q & A will be updated throughout the consultation period to answer further questions that arise.