Ely's £49 million long-awaited bypass officially opens - and 'it was worth every penny' says Mayor James Palmer
Ely's £49 million long-awaited bypass has officially opened - and although it was £13m over budget Mayor James Palmer says "it was worth every penny".
The 1.7km single carriageway - with a viaduct crossing the Great Ouse and a bridge over two railway lines - connects the A142 at Angel Drove to Stuntney Causeway.
Cllr Mandy Smith, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council, cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony this afternoon to a sunshine-filled backdrop.
“This carriageway has been a much-wanted scheme for more than 20 years,” she declared to claps and cheers from the crowd.
The project eventually came in at a £13m overspend and was meant to be finished this summer.
But unforeseen difficulties including building on a flood plain and close to a heritage site meant work was delayed.
However Mayor James Palmer said the build had been “worth every penny”.
“There are people queuing to get on to this bridge right now - it’s been worth every penny spent on it.
“I am very proud we have done this. This is long overdue and should have been built 25 years ago.
“It will be better for people, businesses and the area as a whole.”
Lucy Frazer MP said: “The main benefit is that it will ease traffic and make journeys quicker for everyone.
“It will improve the economy and the area instead of having a huge amount of traffic going through the centre of Ely.”
The bypass is set to boost the economy and transport links for local people and reduce journey times for drivers by up to 56 per cent.
Cllr Steve Count added: “The current system is appalling and this new bypass is a great way to resolve that.”
Around 2,000 tonnes of steel have been used on the build, and as well as cutting congestion, the bypass should also reduce the risk of accidents at the low underpass on the A142.
Ely bypass is open to the public from 4pm today.
The underpass will close for 12 weeks from tomorrow to enable improvement work for pedestrians and cyclists in the area.
The project was funded by Cambridgeshire County Council (£21m), East Cambridgeshire District Council (£1m), Network Rail (£5m) and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (£22m Growth Deal including £16m from DfT).