LATEST NEWS UPPER ORWELL CROSSINGS

January 22, 2019

In response to Suffolk County Council’s announcement.

Terry Hunt, Ipswich Vision chair, said:

“This is deeply disappointing news, although not entirely unexpected. The Upper Orwell Crossings have been an integral part of the regeneration strategy for Ipswich for a number of years.

“It is now essential that partners and other parties work together to deliver the two smaller bridges, which will open up the key Island Site for potential development.

“I welcome the county council’s assurance that it recognises the importance of a strong and successful Ipswich. I look forward to working with the county council and other Vision board partners on a number of projects to drive our county town forward.

“Although this announcement clearly represents a setback, there are nonetheless many important and exciting projects underway in Ipswich.

“The new-look Cornhill is complete, and an events programme to bring the space to life will be announced in the near future. The Wine Rack will soon be complete, work is now underway on the St. Peter’s gateway to the Waterfront, the Princes Street business corridor continues to develop, and the Vision board will shortly be able to reveal its priority schemes for 2019 and beyond.

“Ipswich Vision will continue to work hard for a strong and thriving Ipswich – which Suffolk needs to achieve its maximum potential.”

 

21 January 2019

County Council’s commitment to Ipswich reiterated as three bridges project proves unaffordable

Suffolk County Council is expected to reconfirm its commitment to regenerating Ipswich’s Waterfront next week, when it considers a report on the Upper Orwell Crossings project.

The report, which explains how extensive work to secure additional financial backing for the three bridges project has been unsuccessful, recommends that the existing project is stopped, and that instead the Executive Director for Growth Highways and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Ipswich Communities and Waste, work with partners deliver crossings B and C in the Waterfront area. Suffolk County Council will continue to underwrite a maximum of £10.8 million, the balance of our previous commitment and will require other significant local contributions to enable the project to go ahead.

Cllr Hicks said: “Suffolk County Council remains fully committed to the future development and continued success of our county town. To reiterate this commitment, we 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.”
“It is very disappointing that we have been unable to secure any additional funding for the Upper Orwell Crossings and that the existing project will have to stop with immediate effect. We have exhausted all funding opportunities including The Department for Transport, HM Treasury, local businesses and other stakeholders.”

In October 2018, following concerns about the overall cost of the scheme to build three bridges in Ipswich, Councillor Matthew Hicks paused the project whilst the costs were independently assessed and, following that, all possible efforts were made to secure the additional £43.2 million needed to proceed. Cabinet papers released today confirm that these efforts have been unsuccessful, and that the county council’s cabinet is now being asked to approve an immediate stop to the project.

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 £139.8m due to a range of factors including ground investigation costs, changes in bridge design post consultation and unforeseen procurement costs.

Proposed funding for the project included:
• Department of Transport – £77.5 million
• Local contribution – £19.1 million

The Department of Transport funding of £77.5 million will not be available for building the two smaller bridges, as this funding commitment was for the improvements in transport delivered by the single span main bridge.

Cabinet is due to make its decision on Tuesday 29 January 2019.

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