The cost of building three new bridges across the river Orwell in Ipswich will be up to £139 million, a new independent report has confirmed.
In July, Suffolk County Council asked engineering firm Jacobs to analyse the current projected costs. Their assessment confirms Suffolk County Council’s own cost forecasts, which exceed the previously secured cost of £96.649 million, submitted for funding to deliver the project.
The report was presented to senior councillors at Suffolk County Council on Tuesday 9 October, alongside a recommendation that the council seeks additional funding opportunities to close the financial gap.
It is proposed that Leader of the Council, Councillor Matthew Hicks will pursue formal discussions with the Department for Transport, Central Government, the New Anglia LEP, Ipswich Borough Council and Associated British Ports and others regarding the availability of additional funding for the project. The report also offers potential options for saving money as part of the scheme.
Leader of Suffolk County Council, Councillor Matthew Hicks said: “We want to see the Upper Orwell Crossings become a reality and need to look at what funding sources are available to help meet the significant shortfall in the proposed costs for this major infrastructure project.
“There is no doubt of the benefits of the scheme. These bridges would unlock the development opportunities around the superb Ipswich waterfront and would relieve traffic that moves around Ipswich town centre, giving vehicles an alternative route to connect businesses and residents around the town and out onto the A14. The project has been categorised as high value as part of its business case and we see this as part of Ipswich’s continued renaissance to improve connections around Suffolk’s county town.
“Unfortunately, with such an increase in the overall estimated costs for the crossings, we cannot meet these additional costs on our own. If the proposals are agreed by my Cabinet colleagues, I will look to work with representatives from the Department for Transport, Central Government, the New Anglia LEP, Chamber of Commerce, Ipswich Borough Council and Associated British Ports and others to seek the additional funding required.”
There are many factors that have affected the rise in project costs. Ground investigations have proved higher than originally estimated and were delayed by a year due to negotiations with landowners concerning access.
The procurement process for an architect team to join the design team has incurred additional cost, as has the need to revise design features to accommodate pedestrian and cyclists as well as vehicles.
There is also extra cost in providing an opening structure for crossing ‘B’ which has been requested by the Ipswich Maritime Trust.
If the additional local funding cannot be secured, the project will lose the £77.546 million from the Department for Transport. This money is not transferable to any other project.
Keep in touch
For Q&As, updates and background information about the proposals, you can read the Upper Orwell Crossing proposals in full.
The RYA will continue to monitor developments and keep its members informed.