Villagers query why county council is pressing ahead with making existing underpass at Ely station single-lane with traffic lights

Route of Ely bypass

Route of Ely bypass - Credit: Archant

Villagers at Stuntney described the decision to make the existing underpass at Ely station single-lane and controlled by traffic lights as “wrong and quite unnecessary”.

Stuntney Village Council spokesman Rodney Vincent said that the county planning committee dealing with the bypass “seems determined” to continue with making the existing underpass one-way.

“And that is despite the fact that it has been operating quite satisfactorily as two-way for many years,” he said.

“Stuntney Village Council and the many people we have spoken to on this subject feel strongly that this would be a wrong and quite unnecessary alteration that would cause extra delays for the people that require daily direct access into Ely.”

He said: “The planners do not seem to have taken into account the large amount of light traffic coming in from the east along the A142 corridor that needs to visit Ely with its station, five major supermarkets, important shops, regular outdoor markets, the St Mary’s medical clinic, or for work or pleasure within the city.”

Mr Vincent said: “We, the people of Stuntney who use this access on a daily basis, fail to see how the opening of the bypass will make it less important to retain unhindered access.

“And we would stress that this is not just a Stuntney concern; it will affect many users from locations such as Soham, Fordham and Newmarket and beyond.

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“We do wonder if it is part of a plan to encourage us to use of the bypass and enter Ely via the circuitous route of Angel Drove.”

He asked: “Why try to provide a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist? I have been using the underpass for nearly 20 years and apart from the bridge strikes I cannot remember any problem of two-way traffic passing or accidents to cyclists or pedestrians.”

Mr Vincent said the opening of the bypass will be a great step forward by removing the long queues of heavy transport at the crossing “for which we will be very grateful but there is no point in penalizing local traffic visiting Ely as a result.

“Planners are not infallible and do make wrong decisions, an example being the expensive over height warning lights for the underpass. Protests were ignored and for years we have watched the toll of bridge strikes.

“Once decisions are made the authorities are very reluctant to reverse them and that is why we are calling for the planners to think again and listen to the people who have to cope with their decisions”.

The bypass – already predicting a £13 million overspend on its previous £36 million budget – has always envisaged an underpass traffic calming scheme to be implemented on Station Road where the A142 passes Ely Station and passes under the railway line.

In 2013 the design and access proposals for the bypass included improvements for pedestrians and cyclists as well as carriageway widening on the entrance to the underpass section to limit the risk of local traffic hitting the bridge structure

And, crucially, it referred to “carriageway narrowing under the railway bridge to one lane with traffic signals installed at each end of the underpass to allow for alternating one way flow under the railway line”.