Upper Orwell Crossings, Suffolk County Council,
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Suffolk County Council has halted plans for three bridges across the River Orwell in Ipswich, as costs spiralled and additional financial backing was unsuccessful

The Upper Orwell Crossings project started in 2015 with initial estimated project costs being £96.6m for three bridges. Costs were reassessed in 2018 and were independently verified by Jacobs who confirmed an increase in costs of up to £139.8m due to a range of factors including ground investigation costs, changes in bridge design post consultation and unforeseen procurement costs.

Suffolk County Council has recommended that the existing project is stopped, and that instead the Executive Director for Growth Highways and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Ipswich Communities and Waste, work with partners to deliver crossings B and C in the Waterfront area.

The council will continue to underwrite a maximum of £10.8m, the balance of its previous commitment and will require other significant local contributions to enable the project to go ahead.

Councillor Matthew Hicks said: “Suffolk County Council remains fully committed to the future development and continued success of our county town. To reiterate this commitment, we are still prepared to commit financially towards the costs of building the two smaller bridges, providing we can find significant funding partners to work with us and up to a maximum of £10.8m which respects the overall commitment we made in 2016 towards the local contribution, less the costs incurred to date.”

“It is very disappointing that we have been unable to secure any additional funding for the Upper Orwell Crossings and that the existing project will have to stop with immediate effect. We have exhausted all funding opportunities including The Department for Transport, HM Treasury, local businesses and other stakeholders.”

Proposed funding for the project included:

The Department of Transport funding of £77.5m will not be available for building the two smaller bridges, as this funding commitment was for the improvements in transport delivered by the single span main bridge.

The Cabinet is due to make its decision on 29 January 2019.

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