Have Your Say On The Ely Crossing
By elypeople | Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 14:01
Residents are being asked to give their views on a Cambridgeshire County Council plan to "free traffic around Ely and support additional rail and freight journeys". The Council claim their preferred plan for bypassing the congested Ely station area would also help to regenerate the south of the city, although many local people remain unconvinced at the long term damage to the city centre of a suggested out of town retail park that would help to fund the Council's plan.
Ely Level Crossing - have your say on the plans to bypass this traffic hotspot
Improvements to the A142 around Ely have been identified as one of Cambridgeshire County Council's key infrastructure projects. It is claimed by the Council that the project will reduce congestion and so help to create jobs and growth in the area. To try and persuade the local community of the value of their preferred plan, various public exhibitions are being staged to showcase maps and explain the various options that have been put forward so far to solve the problem of the congestion bottleneck at Ely rail crossing.
Although several plans have been discussed, the route chosen as the most feasible and technically deliverable option by the Council would involve building a 500-metre viaduct over both the River Great Ouse and the railway lines. The Council claim it could be built with minimum disruption to traffic but no doubt they also have the incentive of funding for this option coming from a proposed retail development featuring Tescos at its heart. This retail development would be built near to the link road proposed as the most viable by the Council. In order to move forward, the County Council aims to get feedback "to ensure the public still support this solution", although in reality local feelings have been running high about the proposed retail development, particularly in the light of the District Council's proposal to introduce parking charges to the city.
Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet member for Growth and Planning at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "It is staggering to think that 15,000 vehicles use the A142 through Ely every day and this includes 1,200 lorries. Only last year, a survey revealed the railway crossing was closed eight times an hour on average, resulting in the crossing being closed for 35 minutes out of every hour. With plans to double the freight going through Ely by 2014 – the level crossing will be closed for more 40 minutes per hour – something simply has to be done.
"Some will say we have been here before and that is true – we consulted in 2003 and have come up against a number of hurdles which have slowed our progress. However, with the rail line set to be a major increase in rail freight, the crossing at Ely Railway Station is no longer a simple issue of local traffic congestion - it is a real issue of national consequence. The issue of funding is still a challenge but the way projects like this could be funded has changed in recent years, for example the County Council could look into prudent approved borrowing, contributions from developers and as well as potential support from Government. However, it is important to us to hold a consultation to understand what residents from across East Cambridgeshire think and whether they still support our plans as we move forward."
Public exhibitions will be taking place at…
Thursday October 20: a stall at Ely Market (8.30am-3pm)
Thursday October 20: The Lamb Hotel (3.30pm-8pm).
Wednesday October 26: Stuntney Social Club on Soham Road (5pm-7pm)
Saturday October 29: a stall at Ely Market (10am-4pm)
Tuesday November 1: Soham Village College (3.30pm-7pm)
Wednesday November 2: Witchford Sports and Social Club (5pm-7pm)
Unmanned exhibitions will take place at...
October 12-November 5: The Royal British Legion, Fordham (11am-3pm)
November 5: Royal British Legion, Fordham