IPSWICH City Council is planning to put the brake on growing CBD traffic congestion by reviving the ring road concept.
Now upgraded and renamed the Ipswich City Centre Orbital Road System, the ring road project was first mooted in the late 1990s.
It was shelved because it was seen as being too far ahead of its time, but now the council believes that time is fast approaching.
David Trumpy Bridge and the major CBD intersections of Limestone and East and Brisbane and East streets are nearing capacity.
With the Ipswich population tipped to top 450,000 people over the next 20 years, an improved road system has been identified as one of the catalysts of redeveloping the Ipswich CBD.
The inner-city bypass system is also a vital part of a radical change to the CBD to make it less car heavy and more people friendly.
Ipswich City works chairman Trevor Nardi said the main function of the orbital road was to get traffic not going into the city centre to go around it.
At the moment, to go from North Ipswich to Churchill or from Leichhardt to Booval, for instance, drivers have to go through the often-clogged city heart.
The orbital road is still in its early planning phase and will have to be built in stages, but hopes are high it will positively change the way people move around Ipswich.
“Some of these projects could be 20 years away and some could be five years or so,” Cr Nardi said.
“Ipswich is growing up so we've got to plan for the future when we double our population.
“If we don't do this now we'll end up with major congestion.
"We think we've got congestion now.
“This is our solution.
"It hasn't been to council in its full format yet.
"This is the thought process of what we think will be the solution.
“The whole thing will be hundreds of millions.
"We still have to consult the community but it's too early to do that because we don't know exactly where everything will go.
“But ultimately this concept will have to happen.
"It will need funding help from the state and – possibly – federal governments and it will have to be done over stages.”
CR NARDI said the secondary aim was to give more room in the city for buses, pedestrians and cyclists and on-street dining opportunities.
The internal roads of the orbital system would still be busy but traffic would be at much slower speeds, similar to Charlotte St in the Brisbane CBD.
Free of through-traffic, streets such as Limestone St in the Top of Town could have a 40kmh speed limit to allow for plenty of pedestrians.
As another example, the busy part of Brisbane St in West Ipswich would have to become four-lanes, but it's planned to become a boulevard with a central median, opportunities for on-street dining, and a slower speed environment.
Ipswich City Council's town planners are trying to get aiming for a feel like James St in Brisbane's New Farm.
You still want the street to be busy because you want a successful business centre, but if you don't want to go to the city centre you don't need to go through it.
The first stage of the orbital road system is the Norman St Bridge across the river at North Ipswich to Norman St at East Ipswich, and then upgrading Jacaranda St and through to either where Bunnings or Ross Llewellyn Motors is.
The second stage would most likely be the Robertson Rd extension through the roundabout at the bottom of Brothers and through the road reserve on to the Cunningham Highway.
So if you were coming from Brisbane on the Cunningham Highway, you could go around on to Stafford Street or you could get on the Robertson Rd-Salisbury Rd extension.
Other projects include the Edwards St extension, which would be the link between the big populated area of Ripley and the Ipswich CBD, to make sure Ripley residents don't turn their backs on the CBD.
A long term project is the Church St link, another river crossing linking Tivoli and North Booval with a corridor preserved through the development.
The council is also upgrading Redbank Plains Rd to make it a better alternative to the Ipswich Motorway, to link suburbs such as Springfield to the city centre.