Businesses on the county’s largest business park have congratulated two local councils and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce for working together to lobby for and deliver much-needed improvements the local road network to alleviate traffic congestion – which was having a major negative impact on their operations.
Ransomes Europark lies on the outskirts of Ipswich, close to junction 57 of the A14. It is home to about 275 business, employing over 5000 people.
By 2013, the park was experiencing significant problems caused by the number of businesses operating there outstripping the capacity of the highways infrastructure to cope.
A survey by Suffolk Chamber, who had been called in to help by a number of the businesses based on the park found that 95% of firms felt the road infrastructure needed improving, many reported that traffic delays cost them at least £1000 per month and a clear majority reported significant productivity losses due to traffic delays.
Suffolk Chamber lobbied Suffolk County and Ipswich Borough Councils and with them set up a task and finish group to identify both the key highway issues and ways to funding solutions to them.
By combining together Section 106 monies, £1m was made available to widen some roads, improve junctions, upgrade the display of safety messages and successfully implement a 60mph speed limit on the nearby Orwell Bridge.
Ian Twinley, chairman of John Grose, which is based at Ransomes Europark, said that the road network changes have made a huge difference. “Suffolk County Council took the lead on this initiative and did a tremendous job working with Highways to deliver the improvements. It is fair to say that we are quick to criticise when projects take too long and don’t have the desired effect, but on this occasion they talked to local businesses, proposed logical solutions, delivered them without too much disruption and on time.
“Here we are nine months on and thousands of employees that work on the estate and around the Nacton area have benefited enormously”.
Suffolk Chamber is now working with its partners to persuade Highways England for support under the Growth and Housing Fund for further improvements at Junction 57 of the A14.
According to Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore “what has been achieved in improving the road infrastructure around Ransome Europark is a testimony to the hard work and collaborative approach to working of many different organisations. But there is still an unfinished part of the picture and we will be pressing Highways England with renewed purpose to address the delays at Junction 57 of the A14.”