A business case has indicated that a £40million western relief road in Sudbury would be good for business, as well as helping to reduce traffic.
In December 2015, Suffolk County Council launched a business case into long-running plans for a new bypass.
The scheme would enable traffic to travel between the A131 and the A134, without having to travel through the town centre.
Approximately 3.5km in length, it would run from the west of Sudbury to the eastern villages of Bulmer and Borley.
Supported with £100,000 of funding from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the outline business case has indicated the project has a strong case to go ahead.
The review has shown a relief road could result in as many as 600 fewer vehicles an hour travelling though the town centre – and a 60 per cent reduction in heavy goods vehicles.
Cross Street in Sudbury has long had a problem with pollution, partly as a result of HGV traffic.
The council says the study shows a bypass would result in reduced noise and better air quality.
The business case also shows the relief road would make economic sense, with every £1 invested in the new road bringing around £3 of transport benefits.
James Finch, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The release of the outline business case shows just how big the benefits of the relief road could be for motorists, business owners and residents.
“This is the first step in a long process and we are aware there are still issues that need to be addressed, but this outline case shows a relief road would cut the environmental issues in the town, particularly the volume of traffic.”
The town is currently included in the primary route network and strategic lorry route, with vehicles heading from Essex going on to the A14 and on to the Midlands affected by the traffic in Sudbury.
Council bosses feel further growth in the area is restricted because of poor connectivity.
The next step will be to seek funding from the Department for Transport and New Anglia LEP to develop a more detailed business case to support a bid for substantive funding from the Government to deliver the new road.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, who has campaigned for a bypass, said: “Sudbury is a great town with a genuine community and strong sense of civic pride, but nothing tests that pride more than the regular pounding of HGVs past its priceless heritage.
“For all the technical arguments in the report, the bottom line is that the people of Sudbury want their town back – back from the HGVs, back from congestion.
“This report shows that we now have the credible prospect, not only of slashing traffic and lorry volumes through our town, but also of delivering serious economic benefit.”
The construction of the road has previously been hampered, in part, by concerns over its environmental impact.
The business case confirms the road would have an adverse effect on the landscape of Belchamp Brook, the River Stour, its habitats and the Valley Line walk.
Several engineering works would be required to build the road, including a roundabout or crossing over Kitchen Hill Road, a three-entry roundabout on the A131 and bridges over the River Stour, the Valley Walk, various footpaths and farmers’ access routes.