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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.

We are currently sharing our plans for the underpass once the new bypass has opened. To find out more, please see our Ely underpass section below.

The bypass is expected to open October 2018.

Ely Southern Bypass

Animated walk-through

Video transcript

An animated walk-through of the proposed Ely Southern Bypass from a pedestrian's perspective.

It begins from the footpath to the south of Ely on the River Great Ouse and progresses towards the road bridge, goes underneath the road bridge and then onto the walkway, which is attached to the road bridge (facing Ely). It continues across the walkway, pausing briefly at the viewing platform in the centre (showing the new views of Ely Cathedral).

It then progresses down the walkway and onto the adjacent footpath. The video then shows panoramic views of the road bridge, looking away from Ely, and then concludes with the new views of the cathedral from the walkway. 

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.

Map of Ely Southern Bypass

Ely Southern Bypass map

Map of Ely Southern Bypass

Size: 364.10 KB File format: pdf

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 and cycle access over the River Ouse

As part of the new road bridge over the River Great Ouse, there will be a walkway attached to the bridge that will face towards Ely. The walkway will link the Fen Rivers Way and Ouse Valley Way footpaths together, providing a new circular walking route for residents and visitors to Ely. It will also improve access to the River Great Ouse Country Wildlife Site and give new views of Ely and its surrounding landscape.

What is happening now?

Work on the project started in January 2017 and is progressing well. The 1.7km bypass consists of two main structures, a 300m viaduct over the River Great Ouse and its floodplain, and a 100m rail bridge over two railway lines. 

Both roundabouts either end of the bypass are partially being used and the bridges  structures are now nearing completion. The structural work on the viaduct over the river is finished. The walkway will soon by installed and construction of the carriageway on the embankments and structures will be completed. Signs and lighting will then be added.

More information is available in our most recent newsletter below.

Ely Southern Bypass rail bridge installation

Timelapse footage of VolkerFitzpatrick installing the rail bridge in May 2018. 

Ely Bypass Newsletter

August 2018

Size: 765.28 KB File format: pdf

If you need further information, please contact [email protected]

Timeline of key events

Please note these timescales are indicative and may be subject to change:

Appointing a contractor August 2016
Detailed design works August-August 2017
Earliest possible start of construction January 2017
Earliest possible completion Autumn 2018
Implementation of underpass and traffic management scheme Following opening of bypass
Closure of level crossing by Network Rail TBC

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. Once the bypass has been opened, the existing level crossing on Station road will be closed and a traffic management scheme at the underpass and in the surrounding area will be introduced to allow better and more sustainable transport access to the station.

Traffic lights will be introduced either side of the underpass to reduce traffic to a single lane. This will allow for a new shared use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians travelling to and from Stuntney. 

Proposed plan for Ely underpass

Click on the image to enlarge

Underpass traffic management

Although traffic will be encouraged to use the new bypass, local traffic can still use the underpass if they wish to. 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 will also be relocated to Angel Drove to minimise traffic disruption. Once installed, 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 shared use path under the underpass.

Both pedestrians and cyclists will benefit from the new shared use path which will extend past the underpass to link to current infrastructure. The existing shared use 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.

Angel Drove roundabout cycleway

Draft plans 2018

Size: 512.72 KB File format: pdf

Ely underpass

Draft plans 2018

Size: 966.99 KB File format: pdf

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.

Ely underpass scheme feedback

Size: 28.19 KB File format: pdf

Funding and costs

The project is being funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership grant (£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.

Ely Southern Bypass Exhibition feedback


Size: 25.51 KB File format: pdf

Ely Southern Bypass leaflet


Size: 904.44 KB File format: pdf

Ely Crossing Cabinet Report

(including breakdown of consultation results)

Size: 43.55 KB File format: pdf

Ely Crossing leaflet

October 2011

Size: 429.98 KB File format: pdf

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