'A fundamental day in the history of East Cambridgeshire': Work begins on Ely's £36 million traffic-reducing Southern bypass
PUBLISHED: 18:04 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:57 10 March 2017
Say farewell to traffic in Ely was the message today as spades were dug into the ground to mark the start of work on the city's new Southern bypass.
The new £36 million road, which is expected to be completed by spring 2018, aims to reduce journey times for drivers between the A10 and Stuntney Causeway by up to 56 per cent, and it is hoped to slice delays around the city’s rail station in half.
The milestone occasion was marked with a special sod-cutting ceremony, hosted by the chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, Councillor Sebastian Kindersley, and the Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, The Rt Hon Sir James Paice.
Sir James Paice and Cllr Kindersley were joined by SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer, chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, Mark Reeve, East Cambs and City of Ely councillors, Network Rail representatives and contractors VolkerFitzpatrick as they dug the first spades into the ground to mark the beginning of work on the 1.7 kilometre road that is hoped will bring an end to tail backs that have blighted those driving to and from the city for decades.
East Cambridgeshire District Council Leader, Councillor James Palmer said: “Today is a fundamental day in the history of East Cambridgeshire and one we have been looking forward to.
“This is something the people of the area, the district council and I have been campaigning for and it is very rewarding to see the project commence. I welcome the day that this new road is opened which will not only solve the current issues but bring even more opportunities to the area.”
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, chairman of economy and environment committee, said: “It is great to see excavators start on building this new bypass which will allow better access for all road users in and around the historic city of Ely.
“In turn this project will support local business, encourage growth and boost the local economy continuing to make Ely an attractive place to live and work. I would also like to thank all the partners that have helped fund this scheme and make it a reality.
“Not only will it benefit East Cambridgeshire but also further afield helping local businesses and residents.”
MP Lucy Frazer, said: “Today’s Ely bypass ‘Start of Works Ceremony’ marks a monumental milestone. The need for a bypass to relieve traffic in Ely which is heavily congested has been known for many years and along the way there have been numerous obstacles to overcome.
“Making progress with the Ely bypass is something I campaigned on even before I was elected in May 2015 and has since become one of my key campaigns. I have worked closely with the county council, the district council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and Department of Transport and I will continue to do so at each stage of the project to ensure, as far as I am able, that it progresses on schedule. I am so thrilled to be here today to mark this moment and to acknowledge the hard work of so many that has got us to this point.”
The LEP will foot £22 million of the bill, with the remaining funds split between the county council (£8 million), district council (£1 million) and Network Rail (£5 million).