COUNCIL chiefs have agreed to back plans for a new £30 million by-pass for Ely, which would help reduce traffic snarl-ups in the station area of the city.
The plans would see a 1.7km-long single carriageway by-pass, which could be open by the end of 2015, spanning the River Great Ouse and rail lines, joining Stuntney Causeway to Angel Drove.
Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet discussed a range of options and concerns, including, impact on the view of Ely Cathedral by the preferred option.
Due to extra trains and upgrades being made by the rail industry the level crossing, which is already a traffic bottleneck with the barriers being closed for an average of 35 minutes, would become even more of a problem and will in the future be closed on average more than 40 minutes in every hour.
Councillors considered five alternative schemes including a £30.8 million underpass. They also heard representation from the cathedral and the rail industry which backed a by-pass solution being recommended.
The next stage will be detailed public consultation with a planning application to be made in the new year.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, cabinet member for growth and planning, said: “The bypass option is the most effective in relieving congestion in Ely, provides the best value for money and, by allowing the improvement of the areas around the station, has the greatest additional benefits.”