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County must act to tackle transport problems in Ipswich

This week yet again the Orwell Bridge has had to close due to high winds, and yet again Ipswich has been plunged into chaos.

Yesterday I publicly challenged the  Transport Minister to meet myself and other local MPs to speed up the plans for a North Ipswich bypass. 

Some people reckon a new road is 20 years away. 

We need action NOW. If Suffolk County Council can achieve a bypass around Saxmundham within 5 years, why not around our county town?

This week yet again the Orwell Bridge has had to close due to high winds, and yet again Ipswich has been plunged into chaos.

Yesterday I publicly challenged the  Transport Minister to meet myself and other local MPs to speed up the plans for a North Ipswich bypass.  Some people are holding out for a dual carriageway which could take 20 years to build.  We need something NOW - if we can achieve a single-carriageway bypass like Saxmundham within 5 years, that is surely preferable.

Meanwhile the Ipswich roadworks saga grinds on.  It looks particularly foolish to close two parallel roads at the same time, and I have called the County Council to ask them what justification there is for the number of roads closed, and how they got into this mess.  I hope there is a reason – it will need to be a very good one!

Suffolk County Council are less able to plan any sensible programme of road maintenance, or limit the time that roadworks are in place, because the Tories have given away Suffolk Highways to the private sector.  In Suffolk’s case it is Kier, but it could so easily have been Carillion – and what is to say that Kier might not also have a catastrophic failure of management sometime in the future? Carillion hold 450 contracts with the government, employing 19,500 people.  The government has GOT to step in and take over these contracts, otherwise schools and hospitals will go uncleaned, army bases will fail to be maintained, prisons will not have their rubbish collected and transport construction projects will be left half-finished.  How much better it would have been if these services had never been privatised in the first place.  And how much better it would be for Suffolk if the County Council hadn’t got rid of Highways!

I have had several messages from residents concerned about bus service cuts in Ipswich.  The great news is – Ipswich Borough Council is stepping in to support our bus services.  Some of Ipswich Buses services have been “deregistered commercially” because they aren’t making enough money.  If this had happened in rural Suffolk the services might well have been lost, because the County Council has cut back its support for bus services to the bone.  But Ipswich Borough Council is determined to continue to support bus services in Ipswich – the deregistered bus services will continue, but they will be supported by your Labour Council. 

Who says it makes no difference who runs the Council?

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