WORK on a controversial longrunning roadworks scheme is now complete... but residents aren’t convinced it will make a difference to congestion.

Essex County Council has confirmed works at Ipswich Road in Colchester are “substantially concluded” with the new road layout operational.

Work on the £6.5 million scheme, which has seen the double roundabouts in Ipswich Road and Harwich Road converted into larger single roundabouts, started in September 2018 and was set to finish by December 2019.

However, a myriad of delays have affected the project, with the two and-a-half years of roadworks causing significant disruption to residents and businesses.

And now the new layout is operational, the majority of readers said it is unlikely to solve the traffic woes at the notorious congestion pinch-point.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

In a poll on the Gazette website, 78 per cent said it wouldn’t improve congestion in Ipswich Road.

Fifteen per cent of readers said it would, whilst eight per cent said they were unsure.

Readers took to the Gazette Facebook page to express their concerns about the new layout.

Toni Jervis said: “It confused the hell out of me in bits where an extra lane suddenly appears. But sure I’ll get used to it.”

Damien Lomas said: “Too wide, too fast, no lane discipline. Absolutely fine if you want to recreate a hot lap of Brands Hatch before you nip to Waitrose, but every lane is so wide that everyone thinks they have more time to just nip out.”

However, some readers said they were pleased with the new layout.

Julie Sanderson said: “Used it a few times now during rush hour traffic. Well worth the wait, traffic was flowing lovely.”

Read more:

Essex County Council has revealed what caused the 15 month delay to completion.

A spokesman said: “The scheme encountered a number of complications which had to be overcome and impacted the duration of the works on site.

“These included increased works to divert and maintain utility supplies, Covid restrictions, Cowdray Bridge safety repairs which were outside the scope of this project but included and necessary to complete for public safety and additional works to the adjacent retaining wall.”

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Further works are needed Cowdray Bridge, but will take place in a fenced off area.

County Hall said the original construction contract was valued at £5 million, with £1 million for utility diversion costs.

They do not yet have a final cost of the works, however, the main works will be covered in the original contingency.

The spokesman added: “We would like to thank everyone affected for your patience and cooperation and courtesy whilst we undertook these vital and complex improvements.”