Ely Southern Bypass

The Ely southern bypass is a new road connecting the A142 at Angel Drove to Stuntney Causeway, including bridges over the railway line and the River Great Ouse and its floodplains. The Bypass will ease congestion in and around Ely by providing a new link between Stuntney Causeway and Angel Drove to the south of the city. The new route will remove the need for heavy goods vehicles to use the railway level crossing, and avoid an accident-prone low-bridge.

Ely bybass bridge
Ely Southern Bypass opened to traffic on Wednesday 31 October 2018. The bridge walkway opened 23 January 2019 and the Ely underpass opened 28 February 2019.

Background to the project

The area around Ely station is currently heavily congested with lorries and other larger vehicles not being able to use the low underpass, therefore the bypass will help to relieve these problems. The bypass will ease congestion in Ely, reduce the need for traffic to pass the railway station and allow the level crossing to be closed.

The Ely Southern Bypass is expected to reduce journey times for drivers between the A10 and Stuntney Causeway by up to 56%. It will also reduce delays for motorists leaving the station by 50% at peak times and the addition of a new walkway will bring extra opportunities for pedestrians.

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A contract for the detailed design, technical approval and construction of the bypass was tendered in line with procurement regulations and the contractor VolkerFitzpatrick was appointed in summer 2016. 

Improvements to pedestrian access over the River Ouse

As part of the new road bridge over the River Great Ouse, there is a new walkway attached to the bridge that face towards Ely. This will be open to the public from 23 January 2019. The walkway links the Fen Rivers Way and Ouse Valley Way footpaths together, providing a new circular walking route for residents and visitors to Ely. It also improves access to the River Great Ouse Country Wildlife Site and gives new views of Ely and its surrounding landscape.

If you need further information, please email Transport.Delivery@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Timeline of key events

Appointing a contractor August 2016
Detailed design works August-August 2017
Earliest possible start of construction January 2017
Completion 31 October 2018
Implementation of underpass and traffic management scheme Spring 2019
Closure of level crossing by Network Rail 1 November 2018

Ely underpass

Following previous consultation for the Ely bypass scheme, the closure of the level crossing and improvements to the underpass area were agreed as part of the planning application. On 1 November 2018, the existing level crossing on Station Road was closed to encourage drivers to use the new improved bypass from the outset. A traffic management scheme at the underpass and in the surrounding area was introduced to allow better and more sustainable transport access to the station. 

Traffic lights are placed either side of the underpass to reduce traffic to a single lane. This allows for a new pathway for cyclists and pedestrians travelling to and from Stuntney. 

Underpass traffic management

Although traffic is encouraged to use the new bypass, local traffic is free to use the underpass. Consideration has been put into measures that will minimise delays whilst allowing improvement for pedestrians and cyclists. These include:

  • Vehicle detectors installed so that the new traffic signals can actively respond to the number of vehicles and their approach. 
  • At times of no traffic, both sets of traffic signals will show red. This will allow them to react quicker to vehicles. The appropriate signal can change to green once a vehicle is detected, reducing waiting times.
  • The position of the stop lines have been brought closer together. This will minimise the time drivers need to wait for opposing vehicles to clear the underpass and for their signal to turn green.

It is forecast these traffic measures will reduce queues at the signals to a maximum of nine cars and delay each driver by 29 seconds at most. It is expected that vehicles will only need to wait once at a red light here. The bus stops either side approaching the underpass have been relocated to Angel Drove to minimise traffic disruption. The traffic signal impact on traffic flow will be monitored. If necessary, their settings can be adjusted so they operate as efficiently as possible.

For cyclists, a new one way cycle lane will be built from Angel drove/Station road roundabout to the upgraded road crossing for those cycling towards Stuntney. This will provide a link to the new path under the underpass.

Both pedestrians and cyclists will benefit from the new path which will extend past the underpass to link to current infrastructure. The existing footway/cycleway for accessing Ely will remain as it is for travelling from the railway station towards the Angel Drove/Station Road roundabout. For more information, please see the draft plans for the underpass and the Angel Drove/ Station Road cycleway.

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Comments or queries from members of the public were invited during June and July 2018. A summary of questions asked with answers can be found below.

Funding and costs

The project was funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (£22 million Growth Deal which includes £16 million from Department of Transport) and Network Rail. An extra £13 million has also been allocated to cover cost increases due to difficulties building on a floodplain and near a national heritage site.

Previous consultations

A consultation on the detailed plans for Ely bypass was held in March 2013. A consultation on five possible solutions to the traffic issues in Ely took place from 17 October - 11 November 2011.

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