It may have been 20 years in the pipeline, but Ely Southern Bypass is on track to open at the end of the month
- Credit: Archant
It might have been £13 million over budget and 20 years in the pipeline, but Ely Southern Bypass is on track to open on Wednesday October 31 - and work to build a walkway runs until late November.
The county council first unveiled their planning application in 2013 and the work then commenced in January 2017. A formal opening ceremony is planned for the day and the mile-long road, which links Stuntney Causeway and Angel Drove, will open to traffic in the afternoon.
Once the bypass has opened, work on the existing underpass at the low bridge will begin, to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists.
The work will be carried out under a 24/7 road closure, with access for cyclists and pedestrians maintained.
A Cambs County Council spokesman said: “The earthworks on the three embankments have been completed, work on the east and west roundabout is finished, the carriageway surfacing is nearly complete, final touches to the safety barrier, joints on the viaduct, white lining and signage is underway and work to build the walkway continues.
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“The new route will remove the need for heavy goods vehicles to use the railway level crossing, and avoid an accident-prone-low-bridge.
Councillor Ian Bates, chairman of the economy and environment committee at Cambs County Council, said: “This is well deserved news for many residents in the area as we understand how important the scheme is to alleviate the misery felt by those in the area.
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“Our contractor has been working hard to get the new road open as soon as possible and it is great news it will be open to traffic in just a few weeks. “Whilst work to the walkway will continue, we didn’t want to delay opening the bypass as the work will not impact on the new road.”
The work has been 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 the Department for Transport).
The 1.7km bypass consists of two main structures, a 300m viaduct over the River Great Ouse and its floodplain, and a 100m rail bridge over two railway lines.
Harvey Bibby, marketing and development director at Grovemere Property which is an owner of Lancaster Way Business Park, said: “We are excited about the opening of the Ely Southern Bypass and the clear benefits it will bring to business owners throughout the region.
“As people living and working within East Cambs will know, the train line at Ely Station has been getting busier which has been restricting HGV traffic and subsequently stopping cars and other vehicles from making uninterrupted journeys along the A142.
“This has caused relentless traffic issues making the area less accessible for many businesses and local residents.
“The bypass will create a more steady flow of traffic and transform people’s ability to estimate journey times and allow further connection to the East Coast ports and London via the A14/A11 link.
“We have a broad cross section of businesses located at Lancaster Way Business Park with a series of logistic operators for whom this significant infrastructure change will be hugely beneficial.
“Lancaster Way Business Park (part of the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone) has seen substantial growth over the past five years from a variety of different business sectors.
“The opening of the bypass will cement the park as an attractive location for all, with good transport links and competitive commercial property values (often half of the costs experienced in Cambridge).
“The dualling of the A10 will be the next crucial step needed in order to continue with our rapid expansion.”
Steven Harvey, associate at Cheffins, said: “When the Bypass opens on the 31st October it will go some way to opening up Ely to the wider region, enabling businesses to access the city easier and faster than before.
“The impact is likely to be on Ely’s small office and retail market whilst having a far larger effect on local business parks and centres.
“For example, at Lancaster Way the Bypass will help to encourage larger companies to the site as it becomes increasingly viable due to new accessibility.
“Lancaster Way has the ability to offer space for companies which require large office, lab or industrial space either to build out themselves or to have developed on their behalf which is an unique offering for the region.
“The newest occupiers on the Park are Deanta UK, Cambridge Commodities and the University of Cambridge.
“Currently, land at the site is selling at £475,000 per acre and is available for land scales or design and build opportunities.”