VolkerFitzpatrick puts finishing touches to £49million Ely Southern Bypass project

This week VolkerFitzpatrick completed one of the final milestones in a £49 million project to construct Ely Southern Bypass, on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council. The road officially opened with a ceremony on 31 October, attended by members of the council and project teams.


The bypass connects the A142 at Angel Drove with Stuntney Causeway and features a 1.7km long single carriageway road, including a viaduct crossing the Great Ouse and a bridge over two railway lines.

The new route is set to ease congestion in and around Ely, removing the need for heavy goods vehicles to use the railway level crossing, and allowing them to avoid an accident-prone low bridge.

The two year design and build project has included over 2,000 tonnes of structural steelwork and utilised more than 5,000m3 reinforced concrete and approx. 180,000m3 of clay, over half of which was sourced from a local farm in Stuntney.

The decision to re-purpose clay from a local source was one of several environmental initiatives that won Ely Southern Bypass the title of ‘Most Sustainable Construction & Demolition Project’ at the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management Awards last year.

Chris Evans, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick’s Civils division, said: “It is great to see this challenging and rewarding project reaching its completion. The bypass is a significant addition to Ely’s transport infrastructure and will greatly reduce congestion throughout the area.”

Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Building this complicated, yet elegant brand new road demonstrates our commitment to improving the roads in our county and helping to stimulate growth.

“Ely Southern Bypass has been a long-term aspiration for residents and local people for more than 20 years, will provide a huge boost for the area and will ease congestion in and around Ely.

“Many partners, including the Department of Transport, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Network Rail, our contractor VolkerFitzpatrick and East Cambridgeshire District Council have made this project happen and I’m pleased it is now open to traffic.”

Colin Fowler, highways group director at Tony Gee, who led the design of the project, said: “We feel honoured to have developed the concept and delivered the design of this high profile, technically complex project. Unique aesthetic features such as the viaduct ‘V-Piers’ and cantilevering walkway, in conjunction with challenging logistics were achieved through innovative thinking and collaboration between contractor, client and all our design disciplines.”  

Sam White, project architect at Knight Architects, who delivered the original architectural concept for the bypass, said: “We were engaged by the council to design the major bridge structures on the new bypass route, and develop designs which respect the sensitivity of the surrounding fen landscape and protected views of Ely Cathedral. We are very pleased to have contributed to the project’s successful planning approval, through a ‘Beautiful Ordinary’ design, constructed in an environmentally responsible way."