Work to start on £36 million Ely bypass in January

Ely Bypass. Rail bridge visualisation from south.

Ely Bypass. Rail bridge visualisation from south. - Credit: Archant

Work is set to start in January on the £36 million Ely Southern Bypass designed to alleviate a congestion blighted area of the city which currently gridlocks Ely.

Ely Bypass. A new walkway and pedestrian route.

Ely Bypass. A new walkway and pedestrian route. - Credit: Archant

Contractors have been commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council to start work on site to build the scheme after finishing the final designs. This could mean the road will be open to traffic in Spring 2018.

This week has also seen the Department for Transport reconfirm their financial backing – writing to say that £16million of the Growth Deal money they awarded to the LEP can be used for the scheme following the detailed business case.

Currently long tail backs can be caused in the area near the station as Heavy Goods Vehicles are forced to use a level crossing which is due to be closed more often due to rail improvements.

Residents also see solving the bottleneck as a top priority as outlined in the newly adopted Transport Strategy for East Cambridgeshire

The new route will bypass the railway level crossing and underpass by providing a new link between Stuntney Causeway and Angel Drove to the south of the city.

The County Council have been working closely with contractor VolkerFiztpatrick since August when the design contract was awarded to them. They have now been commissioned to start work on delivering the scheme in January, weather dependent.

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Work since August has included finalising engineering designs, site investigations and using this information to refine the cost of the scheme.

Preparatory works are set to start on January 9 to establish the working area to build the 1.7km of road which will include two significant bridges to cross the River Ouse and its flood plain as well as railway lines. These initial preparatory and clearing works will mean that construction should start in earnest in March.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of Economy and Environment Committee, said: “It is clear from the public consultations that this bypass is much needed in the area. I welcome the news that we can now get diggers on the ground in the New Year and make a start on this vital link which will help boost the local economy. 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.”

East Cambridgeshire District Council Leader, Councillor James Palmer said: “This is something the people of the area desperately need and I and East Cambridgeshire District Council have been campaigning for. Anyone who lives or drives here knows the congestion and pollution caused by the queues of lorries and that is only going to get worse as the level crossing is closed more often. It is harming the local economy and putting off business and 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.”

Neil Darwin, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said: “The Ely Southern Bypass is a key priority for the LEP. We have committed £22m of our Growth Deal, our biggest funding commitment from this deal to date, so we are pleased to hear that the Department for Transport has approved the scheme and that work can now get underway in earnest. The new bypass will deliver significant growth for the local area and ease the day to day traffic problems that local businesses and people currently face.”

The Department for Transport has confirmed that £16 million of the Growth Fund provided to Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership can be used for the scheme. The project is being funded by Cambridgeshire County Council (£8m), East Cambridgeshire District Council (£1 million), Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership grant (£6m + £16 million Growth Fund) and Network Rail (£5 million)