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Jacobs to review spiralling costs of Ipswich bridge

Upper Orwell Crossing

Jacobs has been called in to to carry out an independent review of the proposed Upper Orwell Crossings in Ipswich, after the council put the brakes on the £95M project. 

Costs for the major bridge project, which is still in the planning phase, were originally priced at £95M. However, a recent internal review by the council said that this figure “could increase significantly” which has forced Suffolk County Council to pause the project.

Around three quarters of the original cost is expected to come from the government with the remaining amount made up by Suffolk taxpayers. But Suffolk County Council has warned that extra costs would have to be covered locally, either from businesses or taxpayers.

Jacobs is now undertaking the review into its projected cost with the outcome expected in September 2018.

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said: “Since becoming leader, I have asked my senior team to review the major infrastructure projects Suffolk County Council is working on. The Upper Orwell Crossings is one of the biggest and most complex.

“It’s clear to me that whilst the significant project is being managed well, there is currently some uncertainty around the costs. If we’re going to proceed and build these bridges, that uncertainty needs to be addressed right now.

“We’re going to pause work temporarily, pending the outcome of this review. Then, based on sound and independent advice and considering everything we know about the project, Suffolk County Council will make a decision on the future of the Upper Orwell Crossings.”

The new crossings project includes a new road crossing to the south of Wet Dock Island, a road crossing to connect the west bank to the dock, and an improved pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Prince Philip Lock to connect it to the east bank.

In May this year, the council announced it had started its search for a contractor to build the crossings. It was anticipated that construction would start in late 2020, but this date may now be pushed back pending the outcome of the review.

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