The Upper Orwell Crossings project is a comprehensive masterplan that includes the design of two new crossings across the River Orwell, which together with the refurbishment of an existing lock will create new routes through the area and help relieve the present congestion that disrupts the town centre. The project also offers the opportunity to revitalise the central urban quarter by introducing new public spaces and routes along the river, with pedestrian and cycle links between the island site, inner harbour and waterfront. The new bridges will be part of a holistic vision for all traffic – vehicular, pedestrian and cyclists – to create a civilised shared public realm for all.
Spanning over 720 metres, the main crossing – to the south of the island and harbour – is set to become a local landmark. It provides an integrated crossing for vehicular traffic, cycles and pedestrians, reconnecting the city to a regenerated green riverfront within the proposed masterplan. The main crossing is supported by a tree-like structural system that optimises the span of the bridge while including a swing-span section to allow ships to enter the inner harbour. Diamond-shaped concrete columns with integrated steel ‘trees’ spring out to meet the underside of the mixed-mode carriageway while a central support – in line with the navigation channel – houses the opening mechanism, giving the new landmark a continuous, elegant and slender appearance.
A second crossing offers a direct connection from the city to the proposed enterprise zone on the island site, linking the re-established green promenade and the city centre. It follows a similar approach to that of the main crossing to the south where the pedestrian and cycle routes are integrated, emphasising the island’s connection with the new green boulevard on the western river edge.
The refurbishment of the historic lock across the Neptune Marina completes the central Ipswich urban loop, making it a new urban destination by enhancing the pedestrian and cycle routes across the city and creating a unique experience for visitors and locals alike.