County council says YES to £30million bypass to relieve congestion at Ely rail station
PUBLISHED: 16:43 17 September 2012 | UPDATED: 16:51 17 September 2012
A SCHEME favoured by four fifths of those consulted will see a £30million bypass built to ease congestion at Ely railway crossing.
County council chiefs agreed to back plans for the by-pass which they claim will help reduce congestion in the station area of the city and help economic growth.
Plans for by-pass (known as option B) will see a 1.7km long single carriageway by-pass spanning the River Great Ouse and rail lines joining Stuntney Causeway to Angel Drove
Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet discussed a range of options and concerns, including, impact on the view of Ely Cathedral by the preferred option.
The Cabinet considered five possible schemes including a £30.8 million underpass. They also debated the strong concerns from English Heritage about views of the cathedral.
They also heard representation from the cathedral and the rail industry which backed a by-pass solution being recommended.
The by-pass could be open by the end of 2015 and the next stage will be detailed public consultation with a planning application to be made in the New Year.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said: “Ely is a thriving area but currently the route through by the station is strangling traffic flow and the economy and this is set to get worse as the level crossing will be shut for much of the time.
“Getting the right solution is a challenge and involves trying to balance intrusion on the local historic environment while relieving congestion and encouraging growth.”
He said the bypass option B is the most effective in relieving congestion in Ely provides the best value for money and, by allowing the improvement of the areas around the station, has the greatest additional benefits.
He added: “In contrast the underpass, while preserving the heritage setting, only achieves the limited transport objective of relieving existing congestion at the level crossing.
“It would rule out any significant improvement of the station area, has no additional transport benefits, makes no provision for future traffic growth and is poor value for money.”
Results of the public consultation on options to solve the issues at the Ely railway were revealed last December.
Of the 1,700 responses received, 81 per cent of residents supported the preferred option Route B, a new road to bypass the level crossing, compared to ten per cent who supported route D and four per cent who preferred an underpass.
Cllr Bares said: “To have 81 per cent of all respondents supporting Route B is overwhelming and this was supported by many comments which asked for the new road to be built as soon as possible.”