Wednesday 19th December 2018
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Cost overruns cast doubt on Ipswich river crossing

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One of the largest new infrastructure projects in the region, the Upper Orwell Crossing in Ipswich, is in doubt after an independent report for Suffolk County Council confirmed significant cost overruns. The scheme, which involves three bridges over the River Orwell to relieve traffic congestion in the town, is now forecast to cost up to £139 million, compared to original estimates of £96.65 million on which funding was based. Council leader Matthew Hicks will now pursue talks with the government, New Anglia LEP, Ipswich Borough Council and ABP on securng additional funding for the project.

The report by engineering firm Jacobs also offers options for saving money on the scheme. Extra costs have been incurred on the scheme on ground investigations, the procurement of architects and on space for pedestrians and cyclists. Cllr Hicks said: “We want to see the Upper Orwell Crossings become a reality and need to look at what funding sources are available to help meet the significant shortfall in the proposed costs for this major infrastructure project.”

Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore said: “Suffolk Chamber of Commerce remains a positive supporter of the Upper Orwell Crossings project …. At the same time, we appreciate Suffolk County Council’s financial prudence in reviewing the project at this stage and the additional two months granted during which they will look to address the over-spend and source new funding.”